The Houston Dynamo soccer team and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority agreed on a 30-year lease to develop, construct, operate and manage a new downtown soccer stadium. It will also be the home of the TSU football team and serve as an entertainment venue.
Before Harris County Commissioners signed off on the agreement, some residents expressed their opposition. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says based on their comments, there still seems to be confusion over liability should the venture fail.
"The city and county are doing the same things for the Dynamo stadium that they do for a shopping center, or a mega-church, or any other big development that generates economic activity in an area."
The Dynamo will pay 65-thousand dollars a year to lease the stadium, after it spends 76-million dollars to build it. Judge Emmett says the team is investing in the future of the city's East End.
"That part of town, just east of downtown, needs infrastructure improvements if it's going to improve. And for the Dynamo to come in and invest 76-million dollars in a stadium, I find it kind of fascinating that people who have for years said, 'you got to make these team owners pay for their own stadium.' Okay, we're doing that."
Unlike most all other sports arenas in the country, the Dynamo stadium will be financed without any bond debt. Emmett says the TIRZ, or Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone around the stadium, will dedicate a portion of its revenue to the project.
"And that money won't be generated unless the economic activity comes it. So, its the Dynamo that's taking the risk in this matter."
Ground breaking is set for early next year and construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2012 soccer season.