Faith In The Compaq Center

Music fans may still have a chance to see concerts – of the Christian variety, anyway – at Houston’s former Compaq Center now that the Lakewood Church has taken over the building.

The 16,000-seat church, which broadcasts services worldwide, opened July 16th following a $90 million renovation.

The city of Houston negotiated an agreement in January 2002 to have Lakewood take over the arena. The church paid the city $11.8 million for a 30-year lease, and has an option to extend the lease for another 30 years at an additional cost of $22 million.

Meanwhile, Houston’s concerts and professional sporting events have moved to the city’s new downtown Toyota Center. That venue, which seats up to 19,000 for concerts, is owned by the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and operated by Clutch City Sports and Entertainment.

Paul Schneider, Lakewood’s director of communications, said the church has a non-compete with the Toyota Center, which means no outside promoters can bring in shows.

“Because of the non-compete, we’re really limited in what we can do,” Schneider told Pollstar.

Lakewood will, however, be allowed to bring in church-sponsored concerts, which could include touring Christian acts, he added. None were scheduled at press time.

A similar situation took place in 2000 when the Faithful Central Bible Church purchased The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. However, that building remains active as a mainstream concert venue.