When Hofheinz Pavilion opened it had a seating bowl that could hold 10,000 fans, but after 1998 renovations that added luxury boxes to the top of the seating bowl along with an alcove honoring NBA Hall of Famer and Cougar alum Elvin Hayes, the seating capacity after the removal of seats to facilitate construction of the boxes was reduced to 8,479.
The opening of TDECU Stadium in 2014 was part of that, and the football stadium is designed so that an upper deck can be added to increase its capacity when necessary.
The sticking point became the naming rights of the arena that the Hofheinz family contended belonged to them in perpetuity because of the original 1969 donation with the stipulation the area be named for Hofheinz. The Hofheinz family was also not happy they found out about it in a news report, and both sides filed lawsuits to resolve the issue.
A press conference was held this morning announcing a settlement to the naming rights kerfuffle, in which a plaza bearing the name and a bronze statue of Judge Hofheinz in front of the renovated area that will be named starting in the 2018-19 season the Fertitta Center, after Houston entrepreneur and Landry's, Inc owner Tillman Fertitta.
Fertitta donated $20 million to the project. that is scheduled to be completed by the 2018-2019 season and sits on the UH Board of Regents as its chairman.
In addition, UH will petition the city of Houston to name the portion of Holman Street that runs in front of the renovated arena between Cullen Blvd and Scott St for Judge Hofheinz and make his papers available in the school's library and in the UH alumni center adjacent to the renovated arena.
"We know our father would want the athletic department at UH to prosper", said Fred Hofheinz, who served as Houston's mayor from 1974-1978. "So we know he would support this move."
As for UH being announced as the newest member of the Big XII conference, that's still to be determined..