Is Downtown Stadium in Houston on the Eve of Being a Done Deal?
With the Houston Dynamo’s opening match of the CONCACAF Champions League’s knockout stage quickly approaching on February 24th, it’s time to take a quick look at what’s going on here in Houston.
The franchise made the move from San Jose to Houston, with the impression that it would be easier to obtain a stadium deal in Houston. With the Dynamo’s fourth season starting next month, the club still calls the rundown Robertson Stadium, located on the University of Houston campus in the Third Ward, home. Without rehashing the long, tortuous route the stadium process has taken, it appears that the Houston Dynamo will be starting the 2011 MLS season in a new stadium located on the eastern edge of Downtown Houston. This afternoon, Houston Dynamo CEO Oliver Luck made an appearance on the Ken Hoffman show on 1560 The Game. While Luck was primarily there to promote the Dynamo’s new $150 season ticket package and the $32 special for 4 tickets to the Dynamo’s game against Atlante on Wednesday February 24th. However, Hoffy asked Luck about the status of the stadium negotiations, Luck did not say a final deal had been forged, but nonchalantly and openly stated the team would be in a new downtown stadium in 2011. Gone were the caveats and spin of the past.
More importantly, Luck stated that an unnamed bank has agreed to involve itself in the financing of the Tax Increment Redevelopment Zone a/k/a TIRZ that is at the heart of the public funding associated with the potential stadium. Unlike the sporting palaces recently built for the Astros, Rockets, and Texans, the Dynamo stadium carries a projected cost of under $100 million with only a fraction of the cost coming from public sources. This means that instead of relying on local taxes, which would require a vote, to fund the stadium, the City of Houston and Harris County will provide funds through the TIRZ that will go towards infrastructure improvements. Little, if any, public money will be used on the actual stadium. While a deal has not been finalized, the fact that a bank has agreed to finance the TIRZ, despite the credit crunch and current economy, is an indication that the Dynamo, the City, and the County are on the eve of finalizing a stadium deal.
Speaking of the current economic situation, MLS and the Dynamo, as well as most of the other MLS teams, should be applauded for providing affordable season ticket packages.
Meanwhile the Dynamo are out on the West Coast for some preseason friendlies. Today they faced the L.A. Galaxy, and beat them 2 – nil, thanks to an own goal from Tony Sanneh and a Brian Mullan goal. The Dynamo will be travelling to San Luis Obispo to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.
This Monday on 1560 The Game’s Soccer Show, it appears that a couple representatives from the Dynamo Girls will be joining us in studio. As always, you can watch and listen to the show online at http://www.1560.tv . The show starts at 7:00 pm Central Standard Time.