St. Louis Rams Want Major Renovations to the Edward Jones Dome

Justin Gibson@JustinNColumbiaCorrespondent IIIMay 14, 2012

The St. Louis Rams' counter-proposal to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) has been released to the public, in which reports last week of the team asking for a retractable roof were exaggerated.

The Rams' proposal, which can be read in its entirety online, calls for many improvements, including but not limited to:

  • Moving roof panels in to allow for more natural light. The panels would be in a small portion of the roof.
  • The east side of the Dome to be demolished, adding new entrances and party areas.
  • Two video scoreboards in the northeast and southwest corners of the stadium measuring 37'x97'.
  • Fixed general and club seating and a removable playing field surface that would provide approximately 66,000 seats for an NFL game. Lower bowl would be completely remodeled.
  • Increased and expanded public amenities such as concession stands, stores and public toilets.
  • Upgrades to the Rams' locker room and personnel offices.

Instead of the large video scoreboard in the middle of the stadium included in the CVC plan, the Rams plan would add two corner videoboards, measuring 37' x 97' in the northeast and southwest corners.

In the proposal, the Rams tasked the CVC to find cost estimates and pricing for the renovations.

A source within the CVC told Fox 2 Now that the Rams proposed improvements would close the Edward Jones Dome for two to three years and cost nearly $700 million. It is unknown what, if any, owner Stan Kroenke is willing to pay towards the costs.

Turf Show Times correctly pointed out that the Rams' proposal would make the Dome a centerpiece of downtown St. Louis and that it would offer lots of non-NFL benefits that would make it easier to ask for public money if revenue would be brought into the city. The proposal would put the Dome in the mix for future Super Bowls, and the lower bowl seating improvements would make the Dome able to "accommodate national and international soccer events."

The sketch of the Dome in the Rams proposal also calls for North Broadway to be re-routed.

Rams President Kevin Demoff told CBS St. Louis that he knows reactions will be mixed to the proposal, but the team is proud of it.

The goal is we’re trying to keep these things confidential to make an agreeable deal with the CVC and make the arbitration easier for everybody but hopefully these people will like what we’ve come up with and enjoy it.

The Rams rejected the initial proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome submitted by the CVC in March. The plan outlined $124 million in stadium improvements, with more than 50 percent being funded by the Rams.

Included in the proposal from the CVC was constructing a 96-foot wide by 26-foot high scoreboard, building a new, three-story structure on Baer Plaza connecting to the Dome with a bridge over Broadway Street and installing window panels to allow more natural light inside the Dome and more.

The Rams submitted their counter proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome to the CVC on May 1. However, it was not released to the public initially as both sides cited a confidentiality agreement for negotiations. The CVC then asked a judge the following day to decide whether it was obligated to release the plan to taxpayers.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster stepped in earlier this week saying he would comply with a Sunshine Law request that would make the Rams' counter offer open to the public.

If the CVC and Rams cannot find a resolution on how to make parts the Edward Jones Dome a "first tier" stadium then the team could terminate its lease and move out of St. Louis in 2015. The Rams' lease can be read online.

The Edward Jones Dome, which opened in 1995, was financed primarily with $256 million in revenue bonds, which is still being paid off with $24 million annually in tax money. The state of Missouri is responsible for $12 million of that, while St. Louis City and County each pay $6 million.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Rams pay $500,000 each year to lease the Dome ($250,000 in rent and $250,000 in reimbursement for game-day costs). The team profits from advertising, concessions and box office revenue.

The CVC has until June to to either accept or reject the Rams' proposal. The matter will go to arbitration if it is not resolved by June 15.