Opening in 2000, Minute Maid Park is the third ballpark the Astros have called home. Previously they played at the Astrodome, dubbed as the “Eight Wonder of the World” when it opened in 1965. The Astrodome, a dome multipurpose stadium, allowed Astros fans a way to escape the Summer heat by coming inside to watch baseball. However, by the 1990s the stadium lacked amenities of the new retro ballparks built in baseball: it had an Astroturf field and many of the seats were far away from the field. The Astros struggled to receive support for construction of a new stadium during this time and their future in Houston looked bleak as Astros owner Drayton McLane threatened to sell the club to Bill Collins who would have moved the team to Northern Virginia. In November 1996, voters approved a referendum to provide funding to construct a new ballpark for the Astros in downtown Houston. A 25 acre site in downtown Houston where Union Station, a former rail-passenger terminal, is located, was chosen as the site. Constructed of the steel and concrete with a brick and limestone exterior, construction began on October 30, 1997. The design of the ballpark was greatly influenced by the surrounding neighborhood including the 1911 vintage Union Station that forms the ballpark’s main entrance in left field. In order to continue to provide relief from the extreme heat of Summer, but to also allow for outdoor baseball in the Spring, the ballpark features a retractable roof. Consisting of three panels it can open or close in 20 minutes. The retractable roof also features a 50,000 square foot sliding glass door that opens and closes along with the roof. This provides fans a view of the Houston skyline whether or not the roof is open.
Tenant: Houston Astros (MLB)