SBD/January 25, 2012/Facilities

Rams' Lease Vague On What Defines Making Edward Jones Dome First-Tier

Plan to revamp Edward Jones Dome must be submitted to Rams by next week
While the Rams' lease states that the Edward Jones Done "has to be a 'first-tier' stadium by 2015, or among the top 25 percent" of NFL venues, the document "doesn't offer much clarity on what constitutes first tier," according to Matthew Hathaway of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The lease "identifies several components that need to meet that bar, but also includes vague factors, such as 'the physical structure of the facilities'" and stadium seating. It includes "enough broad language that negotiators could argue just about every inch of the Dome is subject to the standard." Hathaway writes the key to "winning over" Rams Owner Stan Kroenke "may be not necessarily to offer enough to make the Dome one of football's first-tier shrines, but perhaps enough to get the Rams to look the other way or renegotiate the agreement." The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which manages the Dome, "has a week left to present the Rams with a plan for revamping the stadium." The Dome must be "deemed first tier in each of 15 categories, though the lease doesn't spell exactly what would make each of those areas first tier." The categories include "fan amenities, such as box suites, club seats, lounges and any other public areas, including elevators and escalators." Also included are "technical areas, such as scoreboards, lighting, sound, computer and emergency systems, as well 'advertising infrastructure in, on and around the facilities.'" In addition, "revenue-generating facilities, such as food-preparation areas, shops, concession stalls and box offices," and "behind-the-scenes areas related to the team" are included. Hathaway notes considering the "state of the economy -- and the fact that the original construction debt still hasn't been paid off -- publicly funded improvements to the Dome could be a tough sell" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/25).
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