Plans for Astrodome may be derailed

HOUSTON (KTRK) At a cost of $3.5 million a year to operate the mostly unused Dome, county officials are ready to do something to transform the space and if it means going back to the drawing board, they are prepared to do so.

Last week, the county board refused to give the Astrodome Redevelopment Corporation an extension to negotiate a lease and finalize a loan. The company won the exclusive right to try to transform the building once known as the Eighth Wonder of the World into a 1,300 room, $450 million hotel four years ago.

But county officials say they have yet to see any finalized plans and are prepared to allow other organizations the opportunity to transform the Dome.

Officials with the ARC say they have the backing of a bank and claim the county wanted the extension, not them. Even if they do lose the exclusive rights today, the CEO of the ARC says they will regroup and continue to work on their plan.

About three or four different groups are waiting to see what will happen because if certain provisions aren't met, these groups plan to jump in with their own ideas on how to redevelop the Astrodome.

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