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Astrodome to be turned into a Movie Studio


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#31 Urbannizer

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Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:46 AM

More info has been added on the website about each floor level.

Sound Stage
Over 90,000 square feet of sound stage space will be available for major film and video productions, whether to accommodate one gigantic set construction or divided into smaller, multiple sets.

The sound stage area allows for easy access to production offices, dressing rooms, post-production studios, secure storage, equipment rental, and vendors of every description that surround the production area. Props, lighting, sound equipment, and set personnel can be easily moved to any set location on the sound stage.

Offices and Studios
Three levels of the Astrodome will be built out and leased as office and vendor space, equivalent to approximately 600,000 sq. ft. Tenants can include production companies, radio and television stations, post-production studios, sound labs, digital animation studios, film processing, props manufacturing, talent agencies, camera and equipment rental, wardrobe and makeup studios, and virtually any support service associated with the industry.

Space options can be standard or customized. Any type of business associated with film, broadcast media, or production will find Astrodome Studios as the best option to support their professional trade. Along with the amenities that will be included, the tenants of Astrodome Studios will be pioneers– becoming part of the new center of commerce for the entertainment industry in Texas.

Museum Exhibits
Three levels will be dedicated to two museums for the public. The first museum will be the repository for all things Astrodome: the construction story of this building that forever changed the world of architecture, as well as the history of the Houston Astros baseball team for whom Astroturf was invented; the history of the world’s largest rodeo, the on-going Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo; and the star-studded events and performances that gained international attention.

As one museum is dedicated to preserving the structure's incomparable past, another museum will encompass the arts industry in the Astrodome’s visionary future which now centers on the magic-makers of motion pictures. This second museum will showcase the Lone Star State’s 80-plus years of movie and television production.

With galleries of memorabilia, props, costumes, posters, scripts, and video presentations, it’s a museum dedicated to the history of the moving image industry in Texas. The first film ever to win the Academy Award® for Best Picture, “Wings”, was shot in San Antonio in 1927.

The time has come to celebrate the state's moving image industry as well as the Texans who have worked in this industry–both in front of and behind the camera–for more than eight decades.

Events Stage
Because the building was originally a sports stadium–with several decks of theater-style seating–Astrodome Studios will easily provide a venue for special events requiring staging for large audiences. The events stage area will back up to the sound stage area allowing easy installation of props, lighting and sound equipment and providing exceptional viewing quality for the audience.

A sample of the events that could be held at Astrodome Studios: music and awards shows, large fashion shows, galas, television specials, horse shows, political debates and conventions, or televised fund-raising benefit concerts.

Storage
Convenient to the sound stage areas will be massive storage rooms for warehousing equipment and props. A large freight entrance ramp from the outside streets down to the sound stages will allow easy access for over-sized tractor trailers and cargo haulers.

Security will assure that all properties are well-cared for in this environmentally controlled storage area.

Parking
To facilitate parking and ease congestion of traffic with other events at the Reliant Center complex, engineers will create parking garages and spaces within the walls of the stadium.

Pre-existing structures and building design allow for this. Tenants will appreciate the all-weather parking garages that will be serviced by elevators to the office levels.

Restaurants
During the history of the Astrodome, thousands of people needed to eat during any event they attended.

With so many tenants planned for Astrodome Studios, and with major film productions working day and night, people will again need to eat, drink, and relax.

Leasing options located on three levels within the facilty will be available to restaurants and cafés. In addition, these food service tenants can become contracted for large-scale catering opportunities to support the film crews on location, or provide hospitality services for the big shows utilizing the events stage.

Fitness Center
Working on film and television projects can be intense and stressful. In order to keep everyone–from actors to directors to crew–at their peak levels, Astrodome Studios will have a full-service health and fitness center.

Along with the usual workout and aerobic areas, there are plans for a salon, spa, and massage therapy rooms as well as an indoor jogging track around the top deck of the building.


http://www.astrodome...?...7&Itemid=40
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#32 citykid09

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Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:57 AM

This needs to happen. Houston is currently missing out on movie productions to other cities. Even movies that are set in Houston for the most part aren't taped in the city. With this place, it will allow lots of productions to be taped in the city.
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#33 Urbannizer

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Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 11:20 AM

This needs to happen. Houston is currently missing out on movie productions to other cities. Even movies that are set in Houston for the most part aren't taped in the city. With this place, it will allow lots of productions to be taped in the city.


I think this concept has a high potential of happening. The movie incetive bill was just passed so that defianetly helps and cities within the state like Houston begging for Movies to be taped here, is also a plus. I think the Houston City Council wll have alot of interest in this.
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#34 wxman

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Looks like the dome is to become a movie studio....

http://swamplot.com/...2-13/#more-6434
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#35 musicman

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 11:46 AM

this is still in the conceptual phase according to the article.
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#36 sevfiv

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 11:54 AM

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#37 lockmat

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Letter from Judge Ed Emmett:

I've gotten good feedback recently on a television interview I did last week with KPRC-TV (Channel2), in which I told reporter Robert Arnold that I was actively soliciting public input on a variety of proposals for the Harris County Domed Stadium -- best known as the Astrodome, the area's iconic and beloved former sports stadium.

I said in the interview that I was hoping to reserve the Dome for public use, including the possibility of converting it into an indoor venue for the area's many cultural festivals. Houston and Harris County are famous for the Astrodome and for our many cultural festivals.

A number of folks have approached me in recent months about combining the two and using the Dome as a venue for many of the unique cultural, ethnic and community festivals we enjoy here.

And as we saw only too clearly last weekend, we in Harris County are extremely vulnerable to the vagaries of our weather. The International Festival suffered a pretty serious setback with the torrential rainfall we had Saturday. Having the Dome available for such eventualities seems to me a potential solution worth investigating.

Some of the major festival organizers have responded eagerly to the idea in informal discussions, so I'm now soliciting input from other organizers, civic groups, preservationists and the public at large.

At the same time, other groups are discussing museums, planetariums, studios and all sorts of public venues, but having the Dome as a multipurpose facility for everyone to enjoy would be tremendous. Of course, I imagine the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo would find it a useful venue too.

Readers may recall that the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation has been in negotiations with the Astrodome Redevelopment Corporation (ARC) about ARC's proposal to convert the stadium into a hotel - an idea that has not progressed in recent months. Although the idea is not dead, we now need to pursue all possibilities.

I don't expect the county commissioners and I to take any action on the Dome before reviewing the county's Capital Improvements Program on June 23.

http://blogs.chron.c...rve_the_as.html
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#38 roadrunner

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Letter from Judge Ed Emmett:


http://blogs.chron.c...rve_the_as.html


Restoring the dome to be used as a backup for weather conflicted festivals is a waste. Plus, who would really want to go to a festival inside the Astrodome? The best use for this is easily the studio idea.

#39 lockmat

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Restoring the dome to be used as a backup for weather conflicted festivals is a waste. Plus, who would really want to go to a festival inside the Astrodome?


I agree on inside festivals but I think he wants to host as a permanent residence for cultural activities, not just a backup. Or did I miss that part?
  • "You know, the vehicle to improve the American city is the American corporation-that's where the money is." - Gerald D. Hines
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#40 roadrunner

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12:45 PM

I agree on inside festivals but I think he wants to host as a permanent residence for cultural activities, not just a backup. Or did I miss that part?


If he's saying that, then I think that is an even worse idea. Festivals and other similar cultural activities are not meant to be indoors. The return the city would get for the money we put into it would be nowhere near worth the investment.

#41 crunchtastic

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 1:28 PM

No one is talking about this, but does Houston have a talent pool to support large scale filmmaking? The LA area has an entire economy that supports the film trade. Filming on location is one thing--but when it comes to soundstage work, or (especially) post-production work, why would a producer pay to relocate his talent when his talent AND his facilities already exist in the same location? I am concerned that 'Build it and they will come' won't apply, since, like the convention business, you're not attracting increasing buisness, you're trying to take the existing jobs away from someone else. Especially once you stop handing out the tax incentives. Has anyone looked at how much revenue from the film business Louisiana is pulling in now that they let the tax sweeteners expire? Who knows, it they can still make profits, they must have a good model.

I still say the best use for the Astrodome is agricultural. A giant grow house. We have abundant agricultural and engineering talent to make it state of the art. It would create jobs and consumables for the local retail market. And in terms of civic promotion, a massive public project contributing to sustainability would be much more newsworthy than a facility which exists to create yet more crappy content for the airwaves.

Edited by crunchtastic, Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 1:29 PM.


#42 KimberlySayWhat

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Besides tearing it down, at this point I don't even care what they do with the dome as long as it's not football or rodeo ralated or that hokey sounding Texas themed hotel. Just do something already.

#43 TheNiche

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 2:21 PM

No one is talking about this, but does Houston have a talent pool to support large scale filmmaking? The LA area has an entire economy that supports the film trade. Filming on location is one thing--but when it comes to soundstage work, or (especially) post-production work, why would a producer pay to relocate his talent when his talent AND his facilities already exist in the same location? I am concerned that 'Build it and they will come' won't apply, since, like the convention business, you're not attracting increasing buisness, you're trying to take the existing jobs away from someone else. Especially once you stop handing out the tax incentives. Has anyone looked at how much revenue from the film business Louisiana is pulling in now that they let the tax sweeteners expire? Who knows, it they can still make profits, they must have a good model.


You raise a valid point. We have more than our fair share of fine artists, but I've observed that the ones that try to make a leap into the commercial sector generally suck at it. It's a personality thing more than skill. They can't take criticism.

However, like yourself, I'm not willing to write off the whole idea. This is certainly an industry for which other state and local governments have tried to create effective relocation incentives, and it isn't exactly as though California is the cheapest place to do business. If the film industry would utilize it, I think that this would be a great idea. I just don't want for it to sit vacant 90% of the time. I'd say that the key to proving the validity of the concept is to set up a contract with a private management company that earns basically a break-even fee up until a certain performance threshold, after which they get a sizable cut of revenues that would otherwise have gone to Harris County. The Astrodome, itself, would be a symbol that is very easy to promote, but only if there's someone who is marketing it with a fire lit under his ass...and I don't trust a bureaucrat to that kind of job.

I still say the best use for the Astrodome is agricultural. A giant grow house. We have abundant agricultural and engineering talent to make it state of the art. It would create jobs and consumables for the local retail market. And in terms of civic promotion, a massive public project contributing to sustainability would be much more newsworthy than a facility which exists to create yet more crappy content for the airwaves.


That's not sexy enough to be politically feasible. Houstonians just aren't granola enough.
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#44 20thStDad

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Texas loves us some executions, I say stage them at the dome and charge $10 admission. When not killing someone it can be a gigantic laser tag place.
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#45 crunchtastic

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Texas loves us some executions, I say stage them at the dome and charge $10 admission. When not killing someone it can be a gigantic laser tag place.


Running Man!!

#46 20thStDad

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Running Man!!


Exactly. Snazzy one-liners required.
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#47 crunchtastic

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 3:15 PM

That's not sexy enough to be politically feasible. Houstonians just aren't granola enough.



You are correct. There's no vision.

We'll probably will do the same ole thing, pump a bunch of capital into something we're not sure we can lease to capacity, subsidize it with tax favors, and on top of that, pay someone a cut to market it. It might as well be a mall.

#48 TheNiche

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 3:34 PM

You are correct. There's no vision.


It's not for lack of vision. The fact that the Astrodome was even built in the first place is a testament to that. It's just that we don't value hydroponics the way we value sports...or movies...or performing/visual arts...or even hockey.

#49 citykid09

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 9:16 PM

You raise a valid point. We have more than our fair share of fine artists, but I've observed that the ones that try to make a leap into the commercial sector generally suck at it. It's a personality thing more than skill. They can't take criticism.

However, like yourself, I'm not willing to write off the whole idea. This is certainly an industry for which other state and local governments have tried to create effective relocation incentives, and it isn't exactly as though California is the cheapest place to do business. If the film industry would utilize it, I think that this would be a great idea. I just don't want for it to sit vacant 90% of the time. I'd say that the key to proving the validity of the concept is to set up a contract with a private management company that earns basically a break-even fee up until a certain performance threshold, after which they get a sizable cut of revenues that would otherwise have gone to Harris County. The Astrodome, itself, would be a symbol that is very easy to promote, but only if there's someone who is marketing it with a fire lit under his ass...and I don't trust a bureaucrat to that kind of job.



That's not sexy enough to be politically feasible. Houstonians just aren't granola enough.

I think that it could not only be useful for movies, but also in TV show production. Maybe some shows with live studio audiences. It could be an all around attraction.

Also, the Austin area had studio city going up. Its supposed to be like what Hollywood is to Los Angeles. Does anyone know how that project is going? And One more thing, I think the Dallas area has some sound stage studios, Barney and several other shows are taped there.

#50 crunchtastic

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 10:07 PM

I think that it could not only be useful for movies, but also in TV show production. Maybe some shows with live studio audiences. It could be an all around attraction.

Also, the Austin area had studio city going up. Its supposed to be like what Hollywood is to Los Angeles. Does anyone know how that project is going? And One more thing, I think the Dallas area has some sound stage studios, Barney and several other shows are taped there.



If you watch tv, you know that the majority of new shows are cheap- to- produce reality shows, CG animation, and other stuff that studios can market without investing huge money, time or equipment in. In order to make a giant sound stage and production facility viable, you have to keep it filled. You also have to attract high-budget production. I don't believe that Judge Judy, an occasional Scary Movie franchise shoot, and Bret Michaels' newest VH1 embarrasment will cover the costs to the county of giving away tax incentives for a facility that is half-filled half the time. I know it sounds really shiny and cool, sort of like jumbotrons downtown, but none of the people promoting the studio have provided any reliable data which says we have a market for this. Again--what are are Louisiana's numbers looking like? They did a very similar thing in Shreveport. They're also a few years in on it. Either they are making money, or not. I'm not saying it's apples to apples, but it would be instructive.

Now, The Astrodome Grow House, on the other hand, would be an all-around attraction. Do you know that other major cities do tiny, simple things like install rooftop vegetable gardens on their municipal buildings, and get press?? Do you know why Houston has hit some recent 'best of' lists? Discovery Green. Green space. Emphasis on green. An 'attraction' is kids coming in from all over the region on field trips to learn about ecological science. Turning a huge, crumbling urban arena bathed in a sea of concrete into a ag-based business in the 4th largest city in the country -- in an oil town nonetheless -- would be an attraction. Foreigners would eat it up. Taping Barney is not an attraction. Sorry.
Not picking on you, City Kid, but I smell amatuer hour with the people promoting this movie studio deal. And I'm completely serious about Dome Grow House. I think it's viable.

Edited by crunchtastic, Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 10:15 PM.


#51 Trae

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 10:20 PM

I think that it could not only be useful for movies, but also in TV show production. Maybe some shows with live studio audiences. It could be an all around attraction.

Also, the Austin area had studio city going up. Its supposed to be like what Hollywood is to Los Angeles. Does anyone know how that project is going? And One more thing, I think the Dallas area has some sound stage studios, Barney and several other shows are taped there.


I think that Austin studio got canceled, and it moved to SA (where construction hasn't started).



#52 citykid09

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 10:43 PM

If you watch tv, you know that the majority of new shows are cheap- to- produce reality shows, CG animation, and other stuff that studios can market without investing huge money, time or equipment in. In order to make a giant sound stage and production facility viable, you have to keep it filled. You also have to attract high-budget production. I don't believe that Judge Judy, an occasional Scary Movie franchise shoot, and Bret Michaels' newest VH1 embarrasment will cover the costs to the county of giving away tax incentives for a facility that is half-filled half the time. I know it sounds really shiny and cool, sort of like jumbotrons downtown, but none of the people promoting the studio have provided any reliable data which says we have a market for this. Again--what are are Louisiana's numbers looking like? They did a very similar thing in Shreveport. They're also a few years in on it. Either they are making money, or not. I'm not saying it's apples to apples, but it would be instructive.

Now, The Astrodome Grow House, on the other hand, would be an all-around attraction. Do you know that other major cities do tiny, simple things like install rooftop vegetable gardens on their municipal buildings, and get press?? Do you know why Houston has hit some recent 'best of' lists? Discovery Green. Green space. Emphasis on green. An 'attraction' is kids coming in from all over the region on field trips to learn about ecological science. Turning a huge, crumbling urban arena bathed in a sea of concrete into a ag-based business in the 4th largest city in the country -- in an oil town nonetheless -- would be an attraction. Foreigners would eat it up. Taping Barney is not an attraction. Sorry.
Not picking on you, City Kid, but I smell amatuer hour with the people promoting this movie studio deal. And I'm completely serious about Dome Grow House. I think it's viable.

I like the green house idea, but Im sticking with the movie studio.
How about turning it into a self sustaining city?

#53 TheNiche

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 10:54 PM

Now, The Astrodome Grow House, on the other hand, would be an all-around attraction. Do you know that other major cities do tiny, simple things like install rooftop vegetable gardens on their municipal buildings, and get press?? Do you know why Houston has hit some recent 'best of' lists? Discovery Green. Green space. Emphasis on green. An 'attraction' is kids coming in from all over the region on field trips to learn about ecological science. Turning a huge, crumbling urban arena bathed in a sea of concrete into a ag-based business in the 4th largest city in the country -- in an oil town nonetheless -- would be an attraction. Foreigners would eat it up.


I'm not going to bother knocking your idea as one without merit...because frankly, I can't. There's no examples to cite of how a project of similar scope to what you propose has either succeeded or failed. ...so I'm not going to bother with that route.

If a gargantuan grow house is that appealing, why not do it efficiently and construct a 1+ million-square-foot purpose-built facility on cheap land in the suburbs from scratch for $35 per square foot? The opportunity cost of doing it in the Astrodome as compared to a newer, more efficient purpose-built, less expensive facility is ridiculously large. Granted, the symbolism of making it out of the Astrodome would play a significant role in generating press, however that is true of any use for the structure.

Actually, I suspect that no matter what we do with the structure, the moment we do anything, it will create press about Houston. And unless we tear it down, it'll be positive press.
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#54 TheNiche

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 10:55 PM

How about turning it into a self sustaining city?


There's no such thing, nor will there ever be. Trade is a wondrous thing; no barrier is too high.
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#55 lockmat

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Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Whatever it is, it should be a big idea, just like the dome itself was. Something like crunches idea.

I just don't want people to go there and have thoughts of like, "Yeah, this used to be the 8th wonder of the world, the Astrodome, and now it's just _____ [/shrugs]"

Edited by lockmat, Friday, April 24, 2009 at 9:27 AM.

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#56 roadrunner

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Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 at 10:40 AM

I don't know, but I just hope it doesn't sit vacant for another decade.
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#57 Urbannizer

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Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 at 5:01 PM

I think that Austin studio got canceled, and it moved to SA (where construction hasn't started).



It did'nt move to S.A, they're currently looking for a city in Texas to build there devlopment.

#58 citykid09

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Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 at 7:18 PM

It did'nt move to S.A, they're currently looking for a city in Texas to build there devlopment.

Austin was the perfect city for that.

#59 Urbannizer

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Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:13 PM

Austin was the perfect city for that.



Yeah but unfortunaetly, Austin City Council rejected the proposal. It would of been a mixed-use development with a 1.5million sq. ft. studio at the cost of 1.5 billion.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...ght=Villa+Muse



My hope in the Astrodome Studios concept is fading, due to the numerous proposals planned for the Astrodome. Astrodome Studios would diversify Houston's economy. Having a large studio would attract artistic type of professionals, directors, actors, set- designers, film makers, producers, writers, etc. plus it would open the door for Houstonians who may want to enter that field and possibly create thousand of Jobs. More money for Harris County and possibly surronding counties. New opportunities for UH, Rice and TSU to teach these trades. It would also possibly bring more developmnt to the Houston metro area. Last but not least, this movie studio would not only help Houston, but the state of Texas as well. Too bad Judge Ed Emmet is not thinking clearly of the pros a movie studio would bring to Houston, Haris Couny and Texas.


Well..... Houston is Houston. :( Lets see what happens.

Edited by UpuPUp!, Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:21 PM.

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#60 crunchtastic

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Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 at 11:05 PM

Well..... Houston is Houston. :( Lets see what happens.


Don't worry, kid! ;) There's still time for the Astrodome to be used to a better end. Houston should showcase it's history of engineering and technical know-how while contributing to sustainability. The world doesn't need more actors or film crews. It needs solutions that meet the demands of growth and stressed resources. A movie studio is not thinking big. It's not fixing problems. It's very late 90s. Taking out the formica and replacing it with granite countertops. Yawn. No one is thinking big or originally here with the movie studio idea. (Nor can anyone show any credible numbers backing up claims that it would create jobs, or that they could even keep the building leased. )

It's time we kept the spirit of the space age alive. Astrodome Grows!...... Nothing a little asbestos abatement won't fix) :)
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