Council this morning approved the sale of the former Compaq Center to Lakewood Church for $7.5 million.
The vote was 13 to 2, with Councilmen Oliver Pennington and Stephen Costello opposed.
Mayor Annise Parker proposed the sale two weeks ago, saying the money could help close a projected budget shortfall of $11.9 million this fiscal year and as much as $100 million next year.
Some council members expressed skepticism about the deal last week, questioning whether the 606,000-square-foot building was worth more. Their concerns appeared to have been allayed this morning.
“We are really in tough financial times,” said Councilwoman Jolanda Jones, who originally had been critical of the proposed sale. “I don’t see where we have a lot of options. …We’ve got an obligation to balance the budget, and I suspect this is going to be one of many hard votes we’re going to have to take.”
The city leased the former basketball arena to Lakewood for 30 years in 2001, with an option for a second 30 years.
Lakewood invested more than $80 million to renovate the facility.