Astrodome Hotel Proposed

The future of the Houston Astrodome is still up in the air, but a plan to turn the aging stadium into a hotel is being considered.

The Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. is said to be negotiating with the Astrodome Redevelopment Corp. to turn the world’s first dome stadium into a 1,000-room convention hotel, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Willie Loston, the convention bureau’s executive director, told the paper the deal is “speculative at this point” and the concept still needs some fine-tuning.

The estimated cost of such a project exceeds $200 million. County officials are tossing around the idea of raising public funds to save the Dome, but Loston wants private funding only, according to the paper.

Should the idea catch fire, it could create a problem between Harris County, which owns the Dome, and the city of Houston, which already has a convention center and 1,200-room hotel about seven miles north of the Dome.

Meanwhile, the 40-year old venue – most recently used for high school playoff games – costs about $1.5 million annually to maintain and there’s been no serious mention of demolishing it.

It would cost about $600,000 a year to keep the Dome dark, but there’s still about $50 million owed for facility renovations done in the 1980s, according to the News.