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Toyota Center Upgrades on Tap?

Houston Rockets

Future Toyota Center upgrades could be on the way, as the Houston Rockets have hinted at plans for a potential overhaul of the arena. 

Toyota Center opened in 2003, making it part of a boom in downtown Houston sports facilities that included Minute Maid Park (debuted in 2000 for MLB’s Astros ) and BBVA Compass Stadium (opened for MLS’ Dynamo in 2012). The Rockets have kept the facility in line with more modern NBA venues, but some major changes might take place in the coming years.

For right now, the team has plenty of time remaining on a lease that runs through 2033 and has not committed to an extension beyond that date. However, it appears that they could make long-term upgrades to the facility. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta did not offer specifics on what those changes may look like, but suggested that a “major overhaul” could be on the way. More from CultureMap Houston:

Fertitta hasn’t committed to sign a new lease at Toyota Center — the current lease runs through 2033 — though he understands the value of both the location and the building itself. “It’s a great building,” he says. “And now that you have cities expanding the way they have, you’re running out of land to build a project like Toyota Center.”

Considering what the area looked like before either Minute Maid Park or Toyota Center existed, it is clear those stadiums were vital to the improvements of downtown. From new residential developments to the boom in retail just across U.S. 59 in EaDo, the entire area owes its success, at least in part, to these facilities.

It doesn’t hurt that both teams have been diligent in maintaining their facilities. Like the Astros, the Rockets have made nearly constant updates to Toyota Center over the years. “When you move into a building, you immediately realize you could have done things better,” says Rockets CEO Tad Brown. They have retrofitted a number of areas and plan to continue making upgrades including what Fertitta calls a “major overhaul” in the next five years. “We have a lot of ideas and a lot of plans on what we are going to be doing,” Brown says.

It is worth noting that downtown Houston has seen something of a development boom, and that the Rockets would not be the only downtown Houston team looking to upgrade its facility. The Astros announced in July that they extended their lease at Minute Maid Park through 2050, and that future ballpark upgrades are on the way.

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