Economic Development

Two Sports Icons and Myriad Land Use Issues

We’re back after a brief hiatus, having spent the last two months focused on client matters and other publication efforts.  As a treat, right out of the gate, we bring you two stories of great fanfare and color.

The Astrodome Meets Its Fate
In the first vignette, we review a ballot referendum going to the polls today in the City of Houston, Texas to authorize up to $217 million in bonds to transform the Houston Astrodome in a giant convention and event center and exhibition space.  According to reports, the referendum calls for creating 350,000 square feet of exhibition space by removing all the interior seats and raising the floor to street level, as well as creating 400,000 square feet of plaza and green space on the outside of structure.  The project, dubbed “The New Dome Experience”, is a dual exercise in the sentimental (the Astrodome played residence to the Astros until 1999 and the Oilers until 1997, and was the initial home and namesake of AstroTurf) and in the re-purposing and infill movements that are all the rage.

Voters will decide today.  If the measure does not pass, the Astrodome will likely be torn down.

The Orlando Magic Defines Its Fate
Last evening, the Orlando City Council agreed unanimously to sell land adjacent to the Team’s Amway Center to SED Development LLC, described as a “sister company of the Magic.”  The price amounts to $12.7 million, and SED Development LLC will over time build a 650,000 square foot development consisting of Team headquarters, a full service hotel and conference center and residential and retail facilities.

The land currently houses the Orlando Police Headquarters and a city-owned parking garage.

Opponents of the sale were vocal, as one might imagine, but the City Council appeared almost uniform in its support for a development partner where such things are likely less-than-common in the recent and current economic climate.

You can read the NBA’s take on the situation here, though make sure you read with a critical eye.

Two fairly interesting, sports-related land use posts in a single day.  We’re back, baby.

“Can we place a ballot referendum on these uniforms, too?”

Mike Thelen practices in Womble, Carlyle’s Real Estate Litigation and Land Use practice group. He regularly represents a wide variety of clients, from local governments to businesses, in land use and land development matters in both state and federal venues throughout North Carolina.  Follow the North Carolina Land Use Litigator on Twitter at @nclanduselaw and “like” us on Facebook here.

Categories: Economic Development

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