Harris County

Harris County leaders seek to upgrade NRG Park

Commissioners voted unanimously to have the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation come up with at least two alternatives to plan for the future of the complex, which needs at least $500 million in deferred maintenance.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo sign at NRG Park in front of NRG stadium. Photo taken February 28, 2023.
Daisy Espinoza / Houston Public Media

Harris County leaders have kicked off an effort to upgrade the NRG Park complex. The move comes nearly five years after commissioners shelved a less ambitious plan focused on redeveloping the Astrodome.

Commissioners voted unanimously to have the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation develop at least two plans for the future of the NRG Park complex. Commissioner Rodney Ellis, whose precinct includes the complex, is leading the latest effort.

"I'm asking that the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation," Ellis said, "come to this court with ideas for what NRG could be to make sure that it serves not only the tenants but also the county and the community."

Ellis, building on a request by Commissioner Adrian Garcia, stressed that any such plan must maintain the complex's role in disaster relief and recovery operations as needed.

The NRG Park complex needs at least $500 million worth of deferred maintenance. According to Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation CEO Ryan Walsh, the complex generates roughly $60-65 million per year by hosting the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Texans home games and other sporting events, and concerts. "But that of course is not including all of the overhead and all of the costs of operating the facility," Walsh said.

An earlier plan, focused on redeveloping the Astrodome, was abandoned after Judge Lina Hidalgo defeated Judge Ed Emmett and Democrats took the majority on commissioners court.

Bishop James Dixon, who chairs the corporation, thanked the commissioners for their support, even as he acknowledged a long period of inaction.

"We cannot ever plan last week's game," Dixon said, "but we can play to win the game that's ahead of us."