Lakewood Church Central Campus

The Lakewood Church Central Campus is the main facility of a megachurch in Houston, Texas, five miles southwest of Downtown Houston and next to Greenway Plaza.

Lakewood Church - Central Campus
Exterior of the church (c.2005)
Former namesThe Summit (1975–98)
Compaq Center (1998–2003)
Lakewood International Center (2003-05 renovations)
Address3700 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027-7514
LocationGreenway/Upper Kirby
OwnerLakewood Church
ScoreboardFair Play
Broke groundDecember 1973
OpenedNovember 1, 1975
ClosedDecember 1, 2003 (as the sports arena)
ReopenedJuly 16, 2005
Construction costUS$27 million
($152 million in 2018 dollars[1])
  • Kenneth Bentsen Associates
  • Lloyd Jones Associates
Structural engineerWalter P Moore[2]
Houston Aeros (WHA) (1975–78)
Houston Rockets (NBA) (1975–2003)
Houston Summit (MISL) (1978–80)
Houston Aeros (IHL/AHL) (1994–2003)
Houston Hotshots (CISL) (1994–97)
Houston Thunderbears/Texas Terror (AFL) (19962001)
Houston Comets (WNBA) (1997–2003)
Building details
General information
Renovation cost$95 million
($126 million in 2018 dollars[1])
Renovating team
  • Morris Architects
  • Shaw Architects
Structural engineerWalter P Moore
Services engineerCHPA & Associates
Other designers
  • Irvine Team
  • Studio Red Architects
Main contractorTellepsen Builders

From 1975 to 2003 the building served as a multi-purpose sports arena for professional teams, notably the NBA's Houston Rockets. It was known as The Summit until 1998, when technology firm Compaq bought naming rights and dubbed it Compaq Center. That name was dropped when Toyota Center opened as a new and more advanced professional sports venue in the same city,[3] and the building was leased to Lakewood Church. Seven years later, in 2010, the church bought the building outright.

Construction of The Summit

In 1971, the National Basketball Association's San Diego Rockets were purchased by new ownership group Texas Sports Investments, who moved the franchise to Houston. The city, however, lacked an indoor arena suitable to host a major sports franchise. The largest arena in the city at the time was 34-year-old Sam Houston Coliseum, but the Rockets would not even consider using it as a temporary facility. Plans were immediately undertaken to construct the new venue that would become The Summit. The Rockets played their home games in various local facilities such as Hofheinz Pavilion and the Astrodome during the interim.[4]

Completed in 1975 at a cost of $18 million,[5] there was an Opening Night Spectacular called "Heart To Heart", benefitting the Baylor College of Medicine, The Methodist Hospital, and the Texas Heart Institute.[6] Andy Williams was the headliner for that evening's extravaganza. The Summit represented a lavish new breed of sports arena, replete with amenities, that would help the NBA grow from a second-tier professional sport into the multibillion-dollar entertainment industry that it is today. The Omni in Atlanta (now the site of State Farm Arena), McNichols Sports Arena in Denver (now a parking lot for Empower Field at Mile High), and the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio (now an open meadow in the process of being reclaimed by forest) were all constructed during this period and remained in service until the continued growth of the NBA sparked a new arena construction boom in the late 1990s.

On each end of the arena was a Fair-Play scoreboard with a small two-line monochrome message center. Both scoreboards would be upgraded in 1986 with the addition of three front-projection videoboards on top of each scoreboard. The center videoboard showed live game footage, fan shots, and replays while the left and right videoboards showed slides displaying advertisements for the Rockets' (and Aeros') sponsors.

Notable events


It housed the Rockets, Aeros, Comets and several arena football sports teams[7] until they vacated the arena in favor of the new Toyota Center in downtown Houston. Additionally, the arena was a prime Houston venue for popular music concerts and special events such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Harlem Globetrotters, Sesame Street Live and Disney on Ice.[8]

It hosted the NBA Finals on four different occasions: 1981, 1986, 1994 and 1995. In 1994 and 1995, the then-Summit was the site of the deciding games in the championship series and of the ensuing celebrations. The Summit also hosted the championship teams from 1997 to 2000 when the Houston Comets won the WNBA title for four consecutive years.

The first professional wrestling event at the Summit was promoted by the American Wrestling Association on May 29, 1977, headlined by champion Nick Bockwinkel drawing Terry Funk. On January 7, 1979, Dusty Rhodes won the NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Championship from Mark Lewin. The World Wrestling Federation aired the first TV card from the venue on October 19, 1986, featuring Hulk Hogan defending his title against Paul Orndorff and a $50,000 tag team battle royal. It held the Royal Rumble on January 15, 1989.[9] This was the first time the Royal Rumble, won by Big John Studd, was televised on pay-per-view (PPV). The newly renamed Compaq Center hosted the No Way Out of Texas PPV on February 15, 1998, and Bad Blood (the first brand-exclusive PPV held in the United States) on June 15, 2003. It hosted a live episode of SmackDown! on September 13, 2001, the first major entertainment event in the US after the September 11 attacks.[10]

Notable concerts

Prior to the construction of Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and later, the Toyota Center, the Summit was the main Houston venue for large pop and rock music concerts. Before the Summit was opened, most large venue concerts were held at the Sam Houston Coliseum. Smaller concerts were held at Houston Music Hall or Hofheinz Pavilion.

Date Artist Opening act(s) Tour / Concert name Attendance Revenue Notes
November 20, 1975The WhoToots and the MaytalsThe Who Tour 1975The arena's first major rock concert. It was recorded and later released in 2012, as The Who: Live in Texas '75. It is also featured on the "30 Years of Maximum R&B" DVD set.[5][11]
October 31, 1976Parliament-FunkadelicBootsy's Rubber BandP-Funk Earth TourThe performance was recorded and released, as The Mothership Connection – Live from Houston in 1986 and later rereleased on DVD, as George Clinton: The Mothership Connection in 1998. A DVD of one of the opening acts, Bootsy's Rubber Band, was also released by P-Vine records.
November 6, 1976EaglesHotel California Tour
May 21, 1977Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin North American Tour 1977
May 23, 1977Bad Company
June 24–25, 1977AerosmithRocks Tour
September 1–2, 1977KISSStyxLove Gun TourThe presentations were recorded and are part of the first volume Kissology.
December 11, 1977QueenNews of the World TourThe presentation was recorded and the fast video version of "We Will Rock You" was filmed here and other parts of the show have surfaced on Queen documentaries and is available readily on bootleg.
December 8, 1978Bruce Springsteen & The E Street BandDarkness Tour12,003 / 15,000$98,925The show was released on DVD in 2010, as part of The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story box set.[12]
June 30, 1979Bee GeesSweet InspirationsSpirits Having Flown Tour16,654 / 16,654$231,285John Travolta, who was filming Urban Cowboy, made a special appearance at the show.
October 7, 1981Little River BandTime ExposureThe concert was filmed and released on videotape (and eventually DVD) as Live Exposure.
November 5–6, 1981JourneyEscape Tour34,904 / 34,904$377,577The show on the 5th was recorded for later broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour.The show on the 6th was also recorded and shown on MTV, and part of the show was released as part of their Greatest Hits Live album, and later released in full as a CD/DVD package, entitled Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour, in November 2005.
October 10, 1984Cyndi LauperThe BanglesFun TourThe performance at the Summit in Houston in October, 1984, provided the footage for her "Money Changes Everything" promotional video. The show was also broadcast locally over the radio that evening.
October 4, 1985Mötley CrüeWelcome to the Theatre of Pain TourThe concert portion of the original video for their big hit "Home Sweet Home" was shot.
April 8–10, 1988Michael JacksonBad World TourOnly a few songs have been released professionally.
May 4–5, 1990MadonnaTechnotronicBlond Ambition World Tour31,427 / 31,427$881,245-
September 30, 1994AerosmithGet a Grip Tour16,162 / 16,162$434,700The live portions of "Blind Man" were filmed at this show.
October 14, 2002American Idol season 1 finalistsAmerican Idols LIVE! Tour 2002
January 22, 2003Shakira-Tour of the Mongoose
November 22, 2003ZZ TopLos Lobos
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers TourThis is the last ever concert performed live at the arena, before it was renovated into a church.[5]

From vacancy to church

In 1998, it became the first Houston sports arena to sell its naming rights. The Arena Operating Company entered into a five-year, $900,000 per year deal with then Houston-based Compaq Computer Corporation to change the name of the venue from The Summit to Compaq Center, keeping that name even after the acquisition of Compaq by Hewlett-Packard in 2002 (there was another arena named the Compaq Center in San Jose, California around this time, but has since been renamed the SAP Center). The length of the agreement was significant, because in 2003 the lease that Arena Operating Company held on Compaq Center would expire, and the tenants of the building were lobbying vigorously for the construction of a new downtown venue to replace the aging and undersized arena.

When the sports teams moved to the new Toyota Center in 2003, the City of Houston leased the arena to Lakewood Church, a megachurch, which invested $95 million in renovations to convert the arena into the current configuration of seats and rooms for its needs; the renovations took over 15 months to complete, and the renovations included adding five stories to add more capacity.[13] During the lease, Lakewood Church had an exclusive agreement with the City of Houston for use of the former Summit, and as such, invested heavily in the structure for its use.[5] In 2001, the church signed a 30-year lease with the city.[14]

In March 2010, the church announced that it would buy the campus outright from the city of Houston for $7.5 million, terminating the lease after 7 years.[15] Marty Aaron, a real estate appraiser, said that while an "untrained eye" would "wonder how Lakewood Church purchased the Compaq Center for $7.5 million, when this is not really an arms-length sale from the city to Lakewood Church." Aaron explained that the church "put a phenomenal amount of money into the facility after the lease was initially structured, and it's really not fair that someone else would get the benefit of that." Aaron added that converting the property to a stadium-oriented facility "would probably cost as much or more than it took to turn it into a church, and right now there are probably not very many organizations that would be willing to step forward and do that."[14] The Houston City Council was scheduled to vote on the matter on Wednesday March 24, 2010.[16] City council delayed the vote.[17] On March 30 of that year, Ronald Green, the city's chief financial officer, said that he approved of the sale of the building.[18] On March 31, 2010 the Houston City Council voted 13–2 to sell the property to Lakewood.[19]


  1. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  2. Walter P Moore – Arenas (archived)
  3. "Houston Summit to be called Compaq Center". October 30, 1997. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  4. "Looking Back: Owners, Fans Waited Years Before Rockets Took Off". Houston Chronicle. September 20, 2001. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  5. Martin, Robin (November 30, 2003). "Reaching the Summit: ZZ Top to Oasis of Love". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  6. url=
  7. "The Houston Summit". July 17, 1999. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  8. "The Compaq Center". Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  9. "WWF Royal Rumble 1989". Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  10. Wrestling shows from the Summit/Compaq Center, from
  11. Neill, Andrew; Kent, Matthew (2009). Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of the WHO 1958-1978. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 265. ISBN 9781402766916.
  12. Gray, Chris (November 12, 2010). "Springsteen website: '78 Summit Show Best Video Ever". Houston Press. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  13. "Nation's largest church opens in stadium". NBC News. Associated Press. July 17, 2005. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  14. Olson, Bradley (March 22, 2010). "Lakewood to Buy Former Compaq Center". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  15. Shelnutt, Kate (March 22, 2010). "Lakewood to Buy Arena – Thoughts on Today's Worship Spaces". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  16. Sarnoff, Nancy (March 22, 2010). "Lakewood's Home Poised to Become Permanent". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  17. Sarnoff, Nancy (March 24, 2010). "Not so Fast, Lakewood". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  18. Sarnoff, Nancy (March 30, 2010). "City Controller Endorses Lakewood Sale". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  19. Olson, Bradley; Mendoza, Moises (March 31, 2010). "City Council OKs Sale of Ex-Compaq to Lakewood". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
Preceded by
Hofheinz Pavilion
Home of the
Houston Rockets

Succeeded by
Toyota Center
Preceded by
Sam Houston Coliseum
Home of the
Houston Aeros

Succeeded by
last arena
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Houston Summit

Succeeded by
Baltimore Civic Center
Preceded by
Kungliga tennishallen
Masters Cup

Succeeded by
Madison Square Garden
New York
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Houston Aeros

Succeeded by
Toyota Center
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Houston Hotshots

Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Houston Thunderbears

Succeeded by
last arena
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Houston Comets

Succeeded by
Toyota Center
Preceded by
7317 E. Houston Road
Home of
Lakewood Church
Central Campus

Succeeded by
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