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.
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.