St. Louis Rams: Convention and Visitors Commission Rejects Proposal for Dome

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St. Louis Rams: Convention and Visitors Commission Rejects Proposal for Dome
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As reported by the St. Louis Business Journal, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) has expectedly rejected the Rams' proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome.

A spokesperson for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said the CVC had rejected the Rams' renovation plan. The Rams' proposal had a price tag estimated by the city at $700 million, and it would also shut down the convention center for multiple years during renovations.

The CVC released a public statement saying it "expressed to the St. Louis Rams that it believes that it is in the best interest of the community and the Rams to engage in meaningful dialogue over the next two weeks, and looks forward to the opportunity to do so at the earliest convenience of Rams management."

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' x 97'.
  • 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.

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.

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

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.

The CVC and Rams now have until June 15 to reach an agreement or the matter will go to arbitration, which could last until early 2013.

KSDK interviewed Robert Litz with United States Arbitration and Mediation Midwest, Inc in an article posted this morning, and he said arbitration is a cheaper and faster alternative than going to court.

"I haven't been surprised by either side. This has been a high stakes negotiation," says Litz to KSDK. "People posture in a negotiation and I think what we've seen so far is some posturing in this case."

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.

If the CVC and Rams cannot find a resolution on how to make the Edward Jones Dome a "first-tier" stadium, then the team could terminate its lease and move out of St. Louis in 2015.

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