Is new Dynamo stadium closer to reality?

March 1, 2010 4:37:01 PM PST
The Houston Dynamo stadium deal is a little closer to becoming a reality. The controversial Sports Authority voted to look into whether it will get involved in the deal. It's just the latest step in months of debate. On Monday afternoon, the Sports Authority agreed to consider being the manager of the project. The stadium would be built just outside of downtown, on land surrounded by Walker, Dowling and Texas Avenue.

Looking over the overgrown lots that are his neighbors, Richard Ehrlich imagines how a soccer stadium there could help his fledgling business.

"I think it will improve the general conditions of this part of the city. I think it will be a good thing for Houston," said Ehrlich.

The years of dreaming and hoping for a Dynamo stadium took a small, but measured step forward on Monday. The Harris County Sports Authority agreed to appoint a task force and study the possibility of acting as a landlord for Houston and the county if the Dynamo built a stadium on the property.

"We think this is a step that is going to help move our project along. If the city and the county want the Sports Authority involved, I'm all for it. It's a group I know very well, they've built some great stadiums," said Oliver Luck, President and CEO of the Houston Dynamo.

The deal though would be very different than the ones that built Toyota Center or Minute Maid Park. The Sports Authority has no money to spend and will only play a management role. It's the extent of that role, the task force will have to determine.

"It will come back to the Sports Authority to recommend we either get involved under the following parameters, yet to be determined or we don't get involved," Kenny Friedman, Chairman of the Sports Authority.

The Sports Authority says the task force will be made up of a few board members, and will present a finding fairly soon.

For Dynamo fans, they'd prefer less politics.

"I think they should all come to terms and see what's best for Houston," said fan Ben Lowe.

And more action.

"I don't care how they do the stadium, we just want it to happen. So however they do it is fine with me," said Diane Lipton of the East End Management District.

Over the next few weeks, the task force will decide how much to charge the city, the county and the Dynamo if they actually play a management role in building the new stadium.