The Astrodome renovation project moves forward

Houston's Astrodome shines under a Texas sky Monday, June 2, 2003, as its landlords put out a call for anyone with ideas and the means to implement them of what to do with the old stadium. This summer officials will try to figure out whether it can be feasible to save the "Eighth Wonder of the World" or flatten it. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

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The plans to renovate the historic Astrodome moved forward this week when Harris County Commissioners Court voted to search for a “construction manager at risk” for the project. The four-member court voted unanimously to approve the effort to advertise for an experienced construction manager, who would then deliver an estimate on the massive renovation project.

The current plans for the Astrodome include raising the floor and installing two levels of parking garages in the opened space under the new floor. The commissioners court approved the plan in September 2016. The initial estimates for this project are around $95 million and is expected to be completed by around the year 2020.

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The Astrodome has been lacking a regular tenant since 2000, when the Astros moved downtown to Minute Maid Park (then known as Enron Field). The iconic stadium, once known as “The Eighth Wonder of the World”, has been closed since 2008. Renovation plans have included a luxury hotel, a convention center, and a film studio.

A 2016 referendum to finance converting the Astrodome into a convention center failed to earn enough votes, and the historic stadium seemed destined for demolition. In January 2017, the Texas Historical Commission voted unanimously to name the Astrodome as a State Antiquities Landmark. The designation meant that the Dome could not be demolished without a permit from the commission.

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The Astrodome became the first multi-purpose domed stadium in the world in 1965. The stadium was home to the Astros major league baseball team, the Oilers NFL team, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It also hosted events ranging from tennis matches, boxing cards, and WWF Wrestlemania X-7. The stadium also served as a temporary home and processing center for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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