Following an executive session, the authority’s board took a vote.
“Okay, all in favor of the resolution, please signify by saying aye.”
“Opposed?…Thank you. Unanimously, the Sports Authority will continue to move forward on behalf of the city and county and work with the Dynamo, and thank you all for coming and we’re adjourned.”
J Kent Friedman is chairman of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. He says the authority will now officially move with the city and county in a necessary first step.
“What we hope to have for the board by April first, is an agreement, called an inter local agreement, between the city government, the county government and the Sports Authority, and we’ll bring that back to the board for its consideration and approval, and the city will take it to the city council and the county will take it to the commissioner’s court.”
The authority will negotiate a lease with the Dynamo, oversee construction of a 20-thousand seat stadium to be located east of downtown, and then serve as landlord. The agreement will make Texas Southern University a major sub-tenant of the stadium. Oliver Luck is president and General Manager of the Houston Dynamo.
“We think that a soccer venue is gonna be another jewel in our crown if you will, in terms of sports, and we’re brining 60-million dollars to the table, its an 80-million dollar stadium, the bulk of the responsibility is us to build this building and build it on time and on budget. We’re carrying the risk of any cost overruns, so we think its a good deal for the taxpayer, and most importantly for the soccer fans. We think its just a venue they can call their own, as opposed to having to play in other people’s stadiums.”
Tina Araujo is general manager of the East Downtown Management District. She calls professional soccer in Houston a can’t miss proposition.
“Soccer is the most affordable sport to attend as a family, as compared to basketball or baseball or football for sure, in this city. So even if they remain at the current pricing, they would be the most affordable sport for any family here in Houston.”
If everything goes as planned, the city will turn the site over to the Dynamo on October 1st to begin construction. Target completion is April 2012, in time for the team’s season.