This was going to be just a quick item. Via BTF’s Newsstand, I saw this fine piece about Houston’s Astrodome. Basically, there’s a giant building surrounded by parking lots and nobody knows what the hell to do with any of it. Sure, there are plenty of pie-in-the-sky proposals, all of them expensive and none of them anywhere near a good bet for economic or artistic success.
Me? I love the building. But rather than see it slow rot away, I would prefer they razed the thing, ripped out the parking lots, and constructed a lovely nature preserve in the midst of that suburban wasteland.
I’m funny that way, though.
It’s a good article, worth reading all the way through. Here’s the little bit that I wanted to share with you:
Nonetheless, the Astros began looking for greener pastures in the 1990s. Astros owner Drayton McLane used a textbook maneuver to win a publicly financed stadium, threatening to sell the team to investors who would move the Astros to Northern Virginia if he didn’t get a new facility.
The timing of the vote worked out well for McLane: Just a year earlier, Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams had announced he was moving the team to Tennessee after he had failed to get a new stadium for his football team. Voters, having learned firsthand that relocation threats weren’t empty, narrowly approved the new baseball stadium for McLane with 51 percent of the vote. (McLane has since reached an agreement to sell the team for $610 million, after buying the team 20 years ago for $103 million. Forbes magazine pegs a quarter of the value of McLane’s franchise to the stadium that taxpayers built him.)
Now, $603 million doesn’t buy what it used to. After adjusting for inflation, the difference between what McLane paid for the Astros and what he sold them for is only about $440 million. If you believe Forbes, something north of $100 million of that was essentially a gift from the good citizens of Harris County.
Nice work, if you can get it.
Read more (and be further disgusted) HERE.