Houston City Council approves Dynamo stadium deal

HOUSTON Under the proposal, the Harris County Houston Sports Authority would manage construction of the stadium. It would be located on city-owned land east of downtown.

After almost a two-year delay, city council finally took that crucial step to get that stadium built. The city first bought that land just east of downtown near Texas and St. Emanuel about two years ago. But since then, it's been stalled at the Harris County commissioners level. County Commissioner El Franco Lee refused to work with then-Mayor Bill White.

Enter a new mayor and a new era, and now both sides are working together. City council passed the first of several steps that it will take for this stadium deal to go through.

The city and the county will jointly own the $15 million stadium site. Each entity will also spend up to $10 million of the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone money for streets and infrastructure. The Dynamo will spend $60-80 million to build the stadium.

For the Houston Dynamo and its fans, this is an important day.

"We're excited," said Dynamo President Oliver Luck. "We're now making firm plans in terms of architects and contractors, and all the things that we now need to do to stay on this schedule to be able to open up our 2012 season in the downtown stadium."

If commissioners approve the deal next week, east-end businesses are hoping the stadium will spur private developers to build on the surrounding areas.

And for already existing businesses, they're hoping soccer fans in the area will translate to more customers.

"Hopefully because of the stadium, they're gonna help filter in some business to us," said east-end deli restaurant owner Frank Mandola.

If commissioners approve the deal, the Dynamo expects to actually break ground late this fall. The goal would be to finish the project by April 2012.
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