Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Third Option for the Dynamo - the Plaz Americas Mall

Bellaire Mayor Cindy Siegal is mad. She doesn’t like Midway Development’s alternate plan for a new Dynamo Soccer Stadium. Meanwhile, neighbors in Sharpstown are worried. They fear that the PlazAmericas makeover of the Sharpstown Mall could scare away a lot of non-Hispanic patrons.

I’m always interested in ways to kill two birds with one stone. And these two stories made me wonder – what if the new Dynamo Stadium were built at the PlazAmericas/ Sharpstown Mall?

Traffic would be less worrisome than at the Midway site, because the mall is already designed for it. The Sharpstown Mall always had excellent access to the Southwest Freeway. A few blocks to the south, Boxer Properties runs the Arena Theater, and the concerts do not cause traffic jams on adjacent neighborhood streets. Neighborhood streets are already configured to avoid this.

The costs would be less than either the Downtown and Midway site. The stadium could use much of the existing Sharpstown Mall infrastructure – most notably parking and site drainage. Most of PlazAmerica’s anchors are vacant, so the square footage is there. It would require a reconfiguration of the mall – but that’s still usually less expensive than building everything from the ground up.

Soccer is an international sport, and the Alief-Sharpstown-Gulfton area is Houston’s most international. From a demographic standpoint, it would make sense to put the Dynamo stadium in the middle of it all – at the PlazAmericas mall. And this is to say nothing of the benefits to PlazAmericas. The stadium could buttress the funding that’s already lined up for the makeover of the Sharpstown Mall. Not to mention all the people that will come through the mall on game days.

The PlazAmericas mall would be a better choice for The Dynamo than downtown or Midway’s site in Bellaire. Soccer could be an ace-in-the-hole for the mall. It could be a match made in heaven.


  1. Hi Adam,
    This is an interesting proposal, I'm personally on-board for the downtown site because of it's location central to the heart of our transportation infrastructure. To my mind there is a subtle but important difference between access and efficient access and downtown provides the additional mode of light rail which will become the preferred way to get to the stadium (I hope.) What is the future of the rail system in the Sharpstown area? If it's on the line the case for building it there would improve.
    I agree with your assessment in terms of diversity of nationality and a closer proximity to those western suburbs could benefit the teams that play there even if it's marginally less convenient for a lot of others.
    I don't know the exact distribution of the population but Sharpstown may be as central (or more so) in that sense than downtown.

  2. METRO's University Light Rail Line is slated to end up at the Hillcroft Transit Center. That's about 1/4 mile from the PlazAmericas mall. The downtown proposal is about the same distance from METRO's existing Light Rail Line.

    Of course, the downtown site has existing light rail. PlazAmericas has proposed light rail.

  3. The Harrisburg line which is under construction will have a station immediately across the street from the EaDo site (Texas @ Bastrop) that will connect to the Main St. line.

    Even a future extension of the system (i.e. the University line) going to the PlazAmericas Mall area is a big plus. It's an attractive alternative to the downtown site and far superior to the Galleria site.

    The trouble with the University Line is getting it built. It's been so caught up in the No Rail on Richmond thing I fear it will be long delayed. I haven't heard anything on it in a while.