SBD/January 25, 2011/Facilities

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  • Groundbreaking For Dynamo Stadium Expected Later This Month

    Dynamo hope to open new downtown Houston stadium during the '12 MLS season

    The MLS Dynamo are “gearing up to break ground on a long-awaited East End stadium at the end of this month” after nearly five years of “intense negotiations,” according to Allison Wollam of the HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL. The “only remaining minor hurdle is approval of the newly created Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 15, a public financing tool that encourages public-private partnerships and is based on increased tax revenue generated by the development of the stadium.” Harris County Commissioners Court and the Houston City Council this week “will consider the measure.” If “all goes well,” the Dynamo will break ground on the new stadium Saturday, “marking the construction of the fourth professional team venue in Houston since Minute Maid Park opened as Enron Field” in '00. The total project is expected to cost $95M, and Dynamo officials said that “none of the money will come from taxpayers.” The city acquired the land for $15M in '08 and “is leasing it to the Dynamo.” The club will contribute $60M, and the remaining $20M “will come evenly from the city and county through a tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ.” The stadium is slated to open during the team’s ’12 season and “will be the first MLS stadium in an urban environment.” The stadium will feature a “stark steel mesh exterior, helping it fit in with the industrial neighborhood surrounding it.” The Dynamo plan to “shine orange lights -- the team’s signature color -- on the stadium at night.” The new venue will “feature 34 luxury suites, housed only 14 rows from the field, as well as a 1,000-seat club area, which will offer VIP guests their own entrance, bar and restrooms.” The stadium was designed by Populous (HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/21 issue).

    PLAYING THE NAME GAME: Dynamo Senior VP/Business Development Steven Powell said that the new structure will be called Dynamo Stadium for now, but he "hopes that name changes soon." Powell said that he and his team are “busy shopping the naming rights for the stadium to companies local and nationwide and have narrowed their list of suitors to ‘less than 20.’” He added the Dynamo have prepared a “private, internal list” of candidates that the team will approach. In Houston, Casey Wooten notes naming rights for other MLS stadiums “run from $1 million to $3 million per year, with contracts lasting 10 to 20 years.” Powell said that the Dynamo plan to sign about 10 smaller “founding members” as well. He added that he is “optimistic his team will find a good corporate partner, but don’t expect an announcement soon.” Powell: “We’d rather be more patient to secure the best long-term partner. We’re not putting a time line on it” (HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/21 issue). Wooten also profiles Dynamo President Chris Canetti’s “meteoric rise” in a Q&A (HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/21 issue).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Soccer, MLS
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