St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission released a statement on Thursday that their $124 million plan to renovate the Edward Jones Dome was rejected by the St. Louis Rams. The CVC originally presented their plan on Feb. 1 -- which included the addition of more club seats and suites to boost revenue and a proposal that the Rams contribute upwards of $62 million for renovations -- but the team rejected it and now intends to submit its own plan for Dome renovations by the new May 1 deadline.
After the Rams put forth their counter-proposal, the CVC will have until June 15 to either accept or reject it. If the parties cannot reach an agreement by June 15, the issue will be handled through arbitration. The whole situation stems from a clause in the stadium lease that would allow the Rams to opt out in 2015 if the Edward Jones Dome is not deemed to be a "first-tier" facility among the top eight stadiums in the NFL. The proposals by both parties are aimed at satisfying that clause in the lease.
As Ryan Van Bibber of SB Nation's St. Louis Rams, Turf Show Times, points out, there is another troubling backdrop to the situation involving owner Stan Kroenke's Los Angeles ties:
The stadium negotiations are playing out against an interesting backdrop.
- A deal to move one Rams' home game in each of the next three seasons to London required some negotiations to avoid legal problems with the lease. The deal with the CVC only covers the 2012 London game.
- Kroenke is one of seven finalists to purchase the Los Angeles Dogers. Many see his involvement for the MLB franchise as an indicator that he does plan to move the Rams to LA. Owning the Rams in St. Louis while owning the Dodgers in LA would put him in violation of the NFL's cross-ownership rule.
- Kroenke's real estate company, THF Realty, is partnering with hotelier Bob O'Loughlin for the redevelopment of Union Station in downtown St. Louis. O'Loughlin is also the chairman of the CVC and the lead negotiator in the Dome talks.
- The city is also ready to study getting rid of the one-mile elevated stretch of I-70, the part that runs right by the Edward Jones Dome. Any resulting actions taken as a result of that study could factor into the Dome's future.
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