Houston Dynamo stadium approved — no, really this time

It seems like we’ve been waiting for this forever, but it’s finally happened: The Houston Dynamo have signed a lease for a new stadium to be built for the 2012 season.

The funding breakdown: The Dynamo will pay for $76 million in construction costs, while the city and county will share $15 million in land costs, plus $20 million in infrastructure improvements. The city and county will jointly own the 21,000-seat stadium — presumably so that the Dynamo don’t have to pay property taxes — and charge the Dynamo $65,000 a year in rent.

I haven’t been able to find the full lease details — who gets things like naming rights money, for example? — but on the face of it, this doesn’t look like too much of a public giveaway, unless property tax exemptions in Houston are worth more than I’m guessing. Though it’s about par for the course for MLS stadiums, where the team has typically paid for construction while the public pays for land — which is probably a function of the fact that MLS still doesn’t have the leverage in most markets to extort more sweetheart deals. Soccer’s great and all, but no mayors lie awake at night in fear of being accused of losing the city’s soccer team…


6 comments on “Houston Dynamo stadium approved — no, really this time

  1. Oh, sure. Just I doubt that soccer owners are any less extortionate than other sports owners (in fact, they’re often the same people). They just can’t get away with it as easily.

  2. Seems like a pretty good deal for Houston. And much more economical than boondoggles like NFL stadiums. At least this Dynamo Stadium can be used by Univ of Houston and the local high schools as well.

  3. Relative to some other stadium deals, this one appears at least to be reasonable. I’d like to see a lease payment that comes close to covering operating costs (also not mentioned in the article), but in terms of capital commitment, it isn’t too bad a deal. Some public money certainly goes in, but a reasonable percentage of the overall cost.

    Is the lease exclusive? Is the facility going to be fully under the control of the Dynamo, with all revenues theirs? Who picks up O&M expenses? If they get all revenues from the venue (barring TSU games?), $65k a year seems light. Yes, they are paying the construction cost, but having the stadium owned by the city isn’t a gift… it’s a tax dodge.

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