Texas Historical Commission (THC) this afternoon voted to table the motion to designate the Astrodome as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL). THC Chair Matthew Kreisle moved to postpone the vote until a later date, stating he wanted to hear from Harris County officials before granting SAL status.
In a statement released after the vote, THC noted that the Commission supports continuing efforts to find a compatible use that will preserve the Dome, but that the Antiquities Code of Texas requires THC to consider any and all fiscal impact on local political subdivisions before designating a publicly owned building as an SAL.
If the SAL designation is passed, Harris County will be required to get THC approval before altering or demolishing the stadium. As long as the vote is pending, any work on the Astrodome is subject to THC’s permitting process.
Preservation Houston Executive Director Stephanie Ann Jones was in Alpine to speak in support of the SAL designation. She presented the commissioners the names of more than 900 people who had signed a statement of support for the designation. The signatures were collected in five days through the efforts of Preservation Houston and Friends of the Dome, a group chaired by former Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission Chair Phoebe Tudor.
The THC's statement on today's decision follows.
The Texas Historical Commission has voted to table the designation of the Astrodome as a State Antiquities Landmark, postponing the vote on the designation to a later date.
The Commission recognizes the historical and architectural significance of the Astrodome, and supports continuing efforts to find a compatible use that will preserve this Houston icon.
The Antiquities Code of Texas requires the Commission to consider any and all fiscal impact on local political subdivisions before taking action to designate a publicly-owned building as a State Antiquities Landmark (Natural Resources Code Chapter 191.092(h)). Today’s action by the Commission will provide affected public entities with an opportunity to provide such information for the Commission’s consideration.
We anticipate that this will also provide time for Harris County and other interested parties to continue their efforts to identify potential partners and uses for this important structure. THC, as administrator of the 20 percent federal rehabilitation income tax credit and the new 25 percent state rehabilitation credit against franchise tax, looks forward to working with the county and other interested parties on this unique opportunity.
In the meantime, pursuant to Texas Administrative Code Title 13, Part 2, Chapter 26, Subchapter B, Rule 26.8(d), any work undertaken on the Astrodome remains subject to the Commission’s permitting process.