Houston Astrodome parking lot plan moves forward

By Sofia Ojeda - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Harris County commissioners accepted a new plan Tuesday morning to save the Eighth Wonder of the World.

The proposal would raise the Astrodome's floor to create an underground two-level parking garage. The massive garage would hold up to 1,400 spaces.

[PHOTOS of new plan renderings]

The $105 million plan would gut the inside of the building and leave the iconic Dome intact. The proposal includes an air-conditioned 9-acre festival space above the parking garage levels.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said this is the first step in revitalizing the Dome and putting it to good use.

Emmett said the funding will not results in a tax increase. Revenue sources are being evaluated by the county's budget office, which may include revenue generated by the space.

[PHOTOS: Tour inside the Astrodome]

"What's really good about this plan is that once you create that 9 acres of open space, then what happens above in the Dome, the grand idea, if you will, later on, is the possibilities are endless," Emmett said.

The improved Astrodome could save the Bayou City's iconic events, like the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, from Mother Nature.

The next step in the process is that the proposal will go in front of the Texas Historical Commission for approval. Commissioners are hoping that construction will begin after Houston hosts Super Bowl LI next February.

[PHOTOS: Astrodome through the years]

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