Summit flags

The Summit stands among the high-rise office buildings of Greenway Plaza, ca 1994


The interior of Lakewood Church Central Campus currently. It was once The Summit, and later Compaq Center, before becoming a house of worship.

The Lakewood Church Central Campus is a house of worship in Houston, Texas. From 1975 until 1998, it was a multi-purpose sports arena known as The Summit, and from 1998 until 2003 it was known as the Compaq Center. This venue is located about five miles southwest of downtown Houston in Greenway Plaza.

Construction of The Summit Edit

In 1971, the National Basketball Association's San Diego Rockets were purchased by a new ownership group that moved the franchise to Houston. The city, however, lacked an indoor arena suitable to host a major sports franchise, so 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 during the interim.

Completed in 1975, 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 multi-billion dollar entertainment industry that it is today. The Omni in Atlanta (now the site of Philips Arena), McNichols Sports Arena in Denver (now a parking lot for Invesco Field), and the Coliseum at Richfield in Richfield, Ohio (now reclaimed 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.

Notable Events Edit

The Summit housed the Houston Comets, Houston Aeros, San Diego Rockets and several Arena football sports teams 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 the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

The Summit 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 was also host to championship teams from 1997-2000 when the Houston Comets won the WNBA title for four consecutive years.

Prior to the construction of Toyota Center, Compaq Center was the principal Houston venue for large pop and rock music concerts. Paul McCartney played there on May 4, 1976 during the famous Wings Over America Tour. On October 31st, 1976 Parliament-Funkadelic performed at the venue during their similarly famous P-Funk Earth Tour. Their show was later released on DVD in 1998. Queen recorded and filmed a heavily bootlegged concert at this venue on December 11, 1977 on the group's News Of The World tour. The concert is considered one the bands greatest performances. Led Zeppelin performed an acclaimed and extensively bootlegged concert in The Summit on their record-setting 1977 U.S. Tour. Aerosmith also performed a heavily acclaimed and bootlegged concert there during their Permanent Vacation Tour in 1988. A 1981 performance from the rock band Journey (band) was released as the CD and DVD package Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour in 2005. The video for Mötley Crüe's "Home Sweet Home" was also shot at The Summit. Other artists of note who have performed at The Summit include Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Electric Light Orchestra, Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Gilmour (on his 1984 About Face tour), and an infamous KISS concert in which Ace Frehley played a 14-minute Guitar solo. In 1989, Stevie Nicks performed at the Summit as part of The Other Side Of The Mirror tour. Her music video for Whole Lotta Trouble was filmed and the rest of the concert was recorded for a radio broadcast.

The Summit also held the World Wrestling Federation's Royal Rumble on January 15, 1989. This was the first time the Royal Rumble was televised on Pay-per-view. The Rumble was won by Big John Studd.

From Vacancy to Lakewood Church Edit

In 1998, Compaq Center became the first Houston sports arena to sell its naming rights. The Arena Operating Company entered into a five-year, $900,000 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. 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 $75 million in renovations to convert the arena into the current configuration of seats and rooms for its needs. Lakewood Church has an exclusive lease agreement with the City of Houston and is the only tenant allowed to use the venue.

First serviceEdit

The first service from the new facility was broadcast on-line as Lakewood Church Message # 273:

External linksEdit