• Astrodome preps for reinvention as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World' lives on

    February 15, 2018

    As if by divine intervention – or perhaps years of strategy, advocacy, and politicking – the Astrodome National Treasure campaign culminated this week with the unanimous vote of the Harris County Commissioners’ Court to spend $105 million for Phase 1 of the Dome’s rehabilitation. Phase 1 includes the creation of a new at-grade floor over two levels of parking, storage, and back-of-house space that will generate significant revenue towards the annual maintenance and future development of the Astrodome. The plan, scheduled to break ground in Summer 2018 and last roughly 24 months, will also refresh three of the four compass entrance points while preserving and restoring the fourth to its original 1965 appearance and function.

    The funding comes after almost a decade of vacancy and heated debate over the future of the world’s first domed stadium, which includes the National Trust’s involvement for the past 4 and a half years.

    Simultaneous to the vote to spend $105 million on construction is an affirmation of and financial support for the Astrodome Conservancy. This private, non-profit entity was established in June 2016 to assist Harris County in the rehabilitation, management, development, and promotion of the Dome on behalf of the county’s citizens and visitors. The County’s recognition of the Conservancy as its development partner is a significant step forward for the future of the project and the Dome in creating a true public-private partnership.

    The National Trust is thrilled to wrap up our day-to-day work on the Astrodome campaign with this momentous good news. Join us in 2020 to experience the reinvented Astrodome in Houston.

    Astrodome Revitalization Project, Section through Service Access Door Looking South
  • Impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Astrodome

    September 12, 2017

    With the first rays of sunshine in Houston came some much-needed good news. Harris County officials are reporting that the Astrodome was spared from the widespread and destructive flooding throughout the Houston area as a result of Hurricane Harvey. No word yet on how the redevelopment proposal may be impacted by the larger recovery efforts and rebuilding. Please stayed tuned to SavingPlaces.org for updates.

  • Explore the Innovative New Plan for the “8th Wonder of the World”

    February 22, 2017

    In September 2016, Harris County Commissioners’ Court voted unanimously to move forward with a major renovation project that would reinvent the Astrodome for generations to come.

    The $105 million project will raise the floor of the Dome to make way for 1,400 parking spaces underneath. Inside, the vast, column-less interior will be transformed into a multifunctional park and event space. This will allow the iconic structure to host countless activities year-round, connecting millions of Harris County residents in ways never before possible.

    Want to learn more? Check out these teasers from a recent report published by the Office of County Judge Ed Emmett. You can download the full version by clicking here.

  • Commissioners Approve $105M Plan to Save the Astrodome

    September 28, 2016

    In 2003, George Strait performed what was thought to be the final concert to ever be held at the Houston Astrodome, AKA the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” That’s why today we are beyond excited that one of our first National Treasures is on its way to a new life following a meeting of the Harris County Commissioners that was held yesterday afternoon.

    In a unanimous decision, the Commissioners Court approved $105 million in funding to begin the process of raising the ground level of the architectural marvel to allow for the creation of 1,400 new, underground parking spaces in two levels. Once that project is complete, nine acres above it will become available as a potential venue for everything from rodeos to boat shows to concerts.

    A $217 million bond measure that the National Trust supported was unable to pass a popular vote in 2013, but this new allocation does not require voter approval because one third is directly funded through the county budget and the rest is slated to come from parking fees and the local hotel occupancy tax. In fact, the cost of the project could even lower with additional historic tax credits and other business incentives.

    After tirelessly working to save the building for the last several years, we would like to thank Judge Ed Emmett and the county commissioners for their tireless work to reuse this one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment icon for future generations to enjoy.

    Read more about our work on the Astrodome elsewhere on SavingPlaces.org and get the full funding story from Culture Map Houston.

  • Astrodome Celebrates the Big 5-0!

    April 10, 2015

    You know how they say everything is bigger in Texas? Well, turns out that's even true of birthday parties. More than 25,000 people showed up on Thursday, April 9 to celebrate the Astrodome's big 5-0. Happy birthday to the 8th Wonder!

    People waited in line for hours (in a line that circled the Dome almost twice!) for a chance to go inside the Astrodome for the first time in years. Harris County officials and hosts Preservation Houston and the National Trust planned to open the building for an hour that evening during the party outside, but by 10:40 pm when the last person in line finally entered, we were all running on adrenaline spiked by an outpouring of love for the Dome.

    Party-goers celebrated outside with a 3D Astrodome-shaped cake, Dome Dogs, and “Dome Faux'm,” local (Dome-inspired) brewery 8th Wonder’s take on the beer served to generations of sports fans. Many of the supporters who came out were decked out in Astros gear, both current and classic, and chants of “Luv Ya Blue” and “Cruuuuuuuuuz” could be heard throughout the crowd as former Astros and Oilers players were recognized among the masses.

    On every enthusiastic face, from children entering the Dome for the first time in their lives to people who had been there on Opening Day in 1965, the message was loud and clear: ‪This Place Matters!

    To learn more about the event, check out the Houston Chronicle, KHOU, and our Storify, which features highlights from Instagram and Twitter.

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