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Wednesday, Jul 23rd

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Harris County considers Astrodome renovation

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Houston Astrodome, 1966

Good news for fans of historic structures: Harris County is considering a $270-million renovation of the Astrodome that would decrease capacity and make it more attractive for midsized events.

The plan, as proposed by CSL and Populous, would raise the floor of the Astrodome and make it a more intimate venue, seating 5,500 for hockey and 15,500 for football and concerts. That makes it more attractive for big high-school football games and hockey, as the new floor of the facility will be a spacious 300,000 square feet. It also makes it more attractive as a venue for one of the complex's main tenants: the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo formerly held events at the Astrodome before the venue closed in 2009, and the new configuration would make it attractive for holding events related to the Rodeo, such as concerts.

In the end, converting the Astrodome into an events facility will take $270.3 million. The shell of the Astrodome will remain, but much of the interior will be stripped out -- the seating will be removed, the mechanicals will be replaced, and the suites will be overhauled. (One thing we'd love to see: a restoration of one of the suites to its original configuration and design.) Voters would need to approve the measure.

We discuss the proposal on NPR's Marketplace.

RELATED STORIES: Fate of Astrodome again under debate in HoustonFuture of Astrodome: Three scenariosAstros turn back the clock this season to mark Astrodome openingIs Houston angling to close Astrodome?

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