HCHSA, Dynamo announce stadium agreement

Lease agreement celebrated at corner of stadium site Thursday

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Photo Credit: 
Jonathan Kaplan / HoustonDynamo.com

The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority has agreed in
principle on a lease agreement with the Houston Dynamo for their proposed
downtown soccer stadium, it was announced today.

In a Thursday press conference held at the corner of Dowling and Walker streets -- the southeast corner
of the six-block stadium site -- HCHSA chairman Kenny Friedman
and Dynamo president Chris Canetti were among the dignitaries celebrating the
agreement.

READ: Stadium deal a long time coming

“This is the site of what’s going
to be the new Dynamo stadium,” Friedman said to open the press conference. “As
you look behind me, you can see the Houston
city skyline, and after today we hope to add one more building to this exciting
landscape.”

Friedman emphasized that no public
taxpayer money was being used to build the facility, which will also host Texas
Southern University football, entertainment events, and other sporting events.

“It is the first sports venue that we’re aware of that doesn’t
have any public money involved, and we think this is a phenomenal deal for the
taxpayers of this community, because it’s not costing the taxpayers anything,
and it’s going to be a terrific facility,” Friedman said.

While the lease agreement must be agreed on by the Houston
City Council and Harris County
Commissioners Court, all parties appear to expect
groundbreaking in January.

“We’re hopeful to break ground in January some time, and should
we be able to do that, and if construction goes on time, our plan is to open in
April of 2012,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti said.

Houston City Council member James Rodriguez, representing
District I, was one of the politicians on hand for the event, and he spoke of
his excitement over the stadium deal.

“This is a shot in the arm, clearly, for the city and for
the East End and for my district,” Rodriguez
said. “We’re retaining our MLS team, which has done wonders for our community.
They’re a great community asset and community partner. I’m excited about the
number of jobs and positive economic development that this facility will bring
to our great city.”