Jonathan Kaplan /

HCHSA, Dynamo announce stadium agreement

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.”