SBD/July 8, 2013/Facilities

Rams' Latest Proposal For $700M Edward Jones Dome Renovation Plan Rejected

St. Louis execs said they are not in a position to pay for stadium renovations
St. Louis-based regional leaders have "officially closed the door" on a $700M upgrade to the Edward Jones Dome, "ushering in a new stage of negotiations" with the Rams, according to David Hunn of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission President Kathleen Ratcliffe wrote in a letter to the Rams that the agency is "not in a position" to pay for the renovation. Regional Convention & Sports Complex Authority Chair James Shrewsbury in a separate letter said that it "would not be 'prudent' to make the improvements recommended by arbitrators earlier this year." Shrewsbury on Friday said, "Basically, what we’re saying is we’re not going to be bound by that arbitration. It is not going to force us to upgrade the stadium. We simply don’t have the money to do it." The end of arbitration "opens the door for a new round of negotiations." Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had "asked to take the lead on this round -- one nearly certain to include talk of a new stadium, rather than trying to upgrade the Dome." The lease with the CVC "binds the Rams to stay at the Dome for two more football seasons." But last week’s letters mean that, "if nothing changes, the team could leave St. Louis after the 2014 season, or go on a year-to-year lease." Shrewsbury said that he "wasn’t sure if Nixon had started talks with Rams owner Stan Kroenke." He added, "If anything’s going on, it’s between Stan Kroenke and the governor. This thing is still fluid" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/6).

LITTLE LEVERAGE FOR RAMS: In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz wrote of renovation negotations, "The Rams have little or no real leverage." There is "no credible, NFL-approved stadium plan in Los Angeles." Kroenke will "have to make a deal here." Miklasz: "I believe that will happen." There "needs to be a long-term stadium plan for St. Louis." Kroenke, Nixon and the NFL will "eventually hammer out an agreement," but "nothing substantive will occur until Kroenke conveys a sincere desire to participate in the project" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/7). The CVC in February said that it was "unlikely to implement the Rams' plan." The AP noted the CVC's decision came "after arbitrators ruled in favor of the Rams' plan over a much more modest CVC proposal" (AP, 7/5). Jeff Rainford, Chief of Staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said, "Everybody’s on the same page. It was a no-brainer. There was nobody in St. Louis who thought that the Rams proposal was a good idea, other than the Rams." In Denver, Mike Klis asked what will Kroenke "do now?" Klis wrote when the St. Louis stadium upgrade process "began in earnest two years ago," he "thought [for] sure Kroenke was covertly planning to move the franchise back to Los Angeles." Are Kroenke and AEG Chair Philip Anschutz "talking?" (DENVERPOST.com, 7/5).
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