Coordinates: 29°43′49″N 95°26′6″W / 29.73028°N 95.43500°W / 29.73028; -95.43500

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
LocationHouston, Texas
OwnerLakewood Church
  • 15,676 (1975–83)
  • 16,016 (1983–86)
  • 16,279 (1986–87)
  • 16,611 (1987–95)
  • 16,285 (1995–2003)
Ice hockey
  • 14,906 (1975–83)
  • 15,256 (1983–94)
  • 15,242 (1994–2003)
Indoor Soccer
  • 14,848
ScoreboardFair Play
Broke groundDecember 1973
OpenedNovember 1, 1975
ClosedDecember 1, 2003 (as a sports arena)
ReopenedJuly 16, 2005
Construction costUS$27 million
($165 million in 2021 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) (1996–2001)
Houston Comets (WNBA) (1997–2003)
Lakewood Church (2005-present)
Building details
General information
Renovation cost$95 million
($136 million in 2021 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

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

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

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

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


The Summit 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]

The NBA Finals were hosted by The Summit in 1981, 1986, 1994, and 1995, including the deciding games of 1994 and 1995, and the celebrations that followed. The Summit also hosted the WNBA championships of 1997 through 2000, all of which were won by the Houston Comets.

The first professional wrestling event at the Summit was promoted by Houston Wrestling on May 29, 1977, headlined by the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight 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, 1975 The Who Toots and the Maytals The Who Tour 1975 The 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, 1976 Parliament-Funkadelic Bootsy's Rubber Band P-Funk Earth Tour The 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, 1976 Eagles Hotel California Tour
November 25, 1976 ZZ Top Rory Gallagher Worldwide Texas Tour
November 26, 1976
May 21, 1977 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin North American Tour 1977 Bootleg recordings of this show exist.
May 23, 1977 Bad Company
June 24–25, 1977 Aerosmith Rocks Tour Footage available on YouTube.
September 1–2, 1977 KISS Styx Love Gun Tour The presentations were recorded and are part of the first volume Kissology.
December 11, 1977 Queen News of the World Tour The 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, 1978 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Darkness Tour 12,003 / 15,000 $98,925 The 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, 1979 Bee Gees Sweet Inspirations Spirits Having Flown Tour 16,654 / 16,654 $231,285 John Travolta, who was filming Urban Cowboy, made a special appearance at the show.
November 25, 1979 Billy Joel Performed three songs from the yet-to-be-released "Glass Houses"
December 9, 1980 Kansas Audiovisions Tour
October 7, 1981 Little River Band Time Exposure The concert was filmed and released on videotape (and eventually DVD) as Live Exposure.
November 5–6, 1981 Journey Escape Tour 34,904 / 34,904 $377,577 The 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, 1984 Cyndi Lauper The Bangles Fun Tour The 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.
January 11–17 1985 Prince & The Revolution Purple Rain Tour 102,564 / 102,564 $1,708,690
October 4, 1985 Mötley Crüe Welcome to the Theatre of Pain Tour The concert portion of the original video for their big hit "Home Sweet Home" was shot.
January 15–16, 1987 Genesis Invisible Touch Tour
April 8–10, 1988 Michael Jackson Bad World Tour Only a few songs have been released professionally.
July 14, 1988 Run-DMC Public Enemy, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, EPMD, J. J. Fad Run's House Tour
June 11, 1989 N.W.A Too Short
Kid 'n Play
J. J. Fad
Straight Outta Compton Tour
August 22, 1989 Metallica The Cult Damaged Justice
April 15–16 1990 Janet Jackson Chuckii Booker Rhythm Nation World Tour 1990 27,082 / 30,000 $506,903
May 4–5, 1990 Madonna Technotronic Blond Ambition World Tour 31,427 / 31,427 $881,245
August 25, 1994 Whitney Houston The Bodyguard World Tour
September 30, 1994 Aerosmith Get a Grip Tour 16,162 / 16,162 $434,700 The live portions of "Blind Man" were filmed at this show.
November 7, 1999 Ricky Martin Jessica Simpson Livin' la Vida Loca Tour
February 8, 2001 Kid Rock Buckcherry
American Badass Tour[13]
October 14, 2002 American Idol season 1 finalists American Idols LIVE! Tour 2002
January 22, 2003 Shakira Tour of the Mongoose 12,735 / 12,735 $702,205
November 22, 2003 ZZ Top Los Lobos
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers Tour This was the last concert at the arena, before it was renovated into a church.[5]

From vacancy to church

The interior of Lakewood Church Central Campus currently. It was once The Summit, and later Compaq Center, before becoming a church.
The interior of Lakewood Church Central Campus currently. It was once The Summit, and later Compaq Center, before becoming a 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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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."[15] The Houston City Council was scheduled to vote on the matter on Wednesday March 24, 2010.[17] City council delayed the vote.[18] On March 30 of that year, Ronald Green, the city's chief financial officer, said that he approved of the sale of the building.[19] On March 31, 2010 the Houston City Council voted 13–2 to sell the property to Lakewood.[20]


  1. ^ a b 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  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. ^ a b c d 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. ^ "Kid Stuff". 8 February 2001.
  14. ^ "Nation's largest church opens in stadium". NBC News. Associated Press. July 17, 2005. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  15. ^ a b Olson, Bradley (March 22, 2010). "Lakewood to Buy Former Compaq Center". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  16. ^ Shelnutt, Kate (March 22, 2010). "Lakewood to Buy Arena – Thoughts on Today's Worship Spaces". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  17. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy (March 22, 2010). "Lakewood's Home Poised to Become Permanent". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  18. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy (March 24, 2010). "Not so Fast, Lakewood". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  19. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy (March 30, 2010). "City Controller Endorses Lakewood Sale". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  20. ^ Olson, Bradley; Mendoza, Moises (March 31, 2010). "City Council OKs Sale of Ex-Compaq to Lakewood". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
Preceded byHofheinz Pavilion Home of theHouston Rockets 1975–2002 Succeeded byToyota Center Preceded bySam Houston Coliseum Home of theHouston Aeros 1975–1979 Succeeded bylast arena Preceded byfirst arena Home of theHouston Summit 1978–1980 Succeeded byBaltimore Civic Center Preceded byKungliga tennishallenStockholm Masters CupVenue 1976 Succeeded byMadison Square GardenNew York Preceded byfirst arena Home of theHouston Aeros 1994–2003 Succeeded byToyota Center Preceded byfirst arena Home of theHouston Hotshots 1993–1997–1999 Succeeded byAstroArena Preceded byfirst arena Home of theHouston Thunderbears 1996–2001 Succeeded bylast arena Preceded byfirst arena Home of theHouston Comets 1997–2002 Succeeded byToyota Center Preceded by7317 E. Houston Road Home ofLakewood ChurchCentral Campus 2005–present Succeeded bycurrent