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Next deadline on Edward Jones Dome quickly approaching

February 14, 2010 Downtown, Popular Culture, STL Region 22 Comments

ABOVE: Edward Jones Dome
ABOVE: Edward Jones Dome

Last week the agreement to sell the St. Louis Rams to Urbana, IL businessman Shahid Khan was announced in the news:

“The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the team’s owners, Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, have agreed to sell the team to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan.” (USAToday)

Any sale must be approved by the NFL.  If the sale goes through it would very likely mean the Rams would not be leaving the St. Louis area.  But sale or not, the requirements of the lease remain in place:

“The next scheduled deadline for first-tier status is March 1, 2015. But the process that could lead to the Rams getting out of the lease and potentially relocating starts much sooner – in just 2 1/2 years.

On or before Feb. 1, 2012, the CVC must deliver a preliminary plan for first-tier improvements. The overall plan must include a financial plan, as well as the source of those funds.

The Rams then have until March 1, 2012, to notify the CVC if they approve or disapprove of those plans.

At that point, the Rams have until May 1, 2012, to submit an alternate plan, with the CVC then given until June 1, 2012, to accept or reject the Rams’ alternate plan.

If the CVC rejects the Rams’ alternate plan, the matter goes to arbitration on June 15, 2012. The arbitration must be completed by the end of 2012.

If no agreement is reached, the stadium lease would then convert to a year-to-year lease, with the Rams free to move after the 2014 season.”  (Source: ballparks.com)

So the CVC now has less than two years to put together a plan to satisfy the requirement that the dome be among the top 25% in the NFL.  We don’t yet know how much money is required, or where it would come from.  I’m sure the CVC folks are already sweating bullets thinking about it.  If the CVC meets the lease requirements then the Rams will be obligated through 2024.  At that point the dome will be more than 30 years old and the lease will terminate.

Assuming we get past this next deadline, I think we will hear talk around 2018-2020 about a new facility.  The poll this week asks where you think a new facility should be located.  I think any future facility should not be located downtown.  Baseball works well in an urban context — there are many more home games, the required facility is smaller, and baseball stadiums are more visually open. Football stadiums belong outside of an walkable urban context: suburbia basically.

By 2012 we may be asked to fund improvements to the Edward Jones Dome. If we are going to come up with additional money I want that money to go for a new facility outside of downtown. Put it next to MetroLink in Illinois or on the site of the former Chrysler plant on I-44.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "22 comments" on this Article:

  1. brickshire2000 says:

    I commend you, Steve. I think you're the only voice I've heard that thinks a stadium in Illinois might be the best solution – the team stays in metro St. Louis, which apparently people want; the high-value downtown space is freed up for a different development that might promote more urban social interaction and induce more profit (mixed-use residential/commercial); and, moreover, an Illinois stadium site could, potentially, provide a boost to East St. Louis. For the Illinois site, I assume you're referring to the farm land north of the link line, south of I-64 at the juncture of I-255. Perhaps the most realistic of all possible sites. Is that where you're looking?

    How can East St. Louis lure the team to build there? I think the entire city is under a TIF development scheme (an unwise decision that hasn't had any affect on development), but other than that what are the pull factors? Proximity to the Metro and the interstate, okay. What else?

    More importantly, will widely held cultural preconceptions about East St. Louis allow such a bold move? THe very existence of Metro in ESL was enough to ruffle the feathers of racism. Thinking about that makes me think that if the Rams do move to ESL, I might actually start going to games as some sort of metropolitan civic duty.

  2. Chris says:

    Couldn't Shahid Kahn say “hey, I think the stadium is fine, never mind the whole top 25% clause, I'm keeping the team at Edward Jones.”? Everyone keeps talking like he HAS to move the team in 1015 if the Dome isn't updated.

  3. JZ71 says:

    Wherever it happens will likely mean convincing voters to increase their taxes to pay for it. Given the resistence Metro is receiving on their current initiative, I'm not sure if a new stadium would be any easier to sell. Part of it will probably be casting a wide net (a smaller tax covering multiple counties, not a larger one collected in just one or two) and part of it will be whether or not the Rams start to win again. Personally, as not a sports fan, I'm in the camp of letting the team figure out how to pay for any upgrades or new facility. As a fallback, the CVC can figure out how to comply with the contractual requirements using the current income stream – if most voters expect schools, local government and Metro to “live within their means”, why not the same expectation of the CVC? Find new bonding sources, explore public-private partnerships, sell a new round of seat licenses, increase advertising opportunities – they can all leverage the current public revenue stream. I, however, as a voter, will not be held hostage to any threats about the team leaving town – there are multiple other funding demands, over and above keeping a bunch of millionaires happy, to direct my tax dollars toward – any loss associated with losing the team, both psychological and economic, will be a lot less than the losses we've experienced from the multiple plant closings and the reductions in air service that we've experienced since I moved here just 5 years ago . . .

  4. JoeBorough says:

    We need to figure out what kind of stadium is wanted/needed and how much it will cost.
    I'm a fan of Heinz Field and I think that would work wonderful on the eastbank directly across from the arch, where Casino Queen sits now.

    Heinz Field came in around 285 million. Khan himself could make that happen, that's a far cry from Jerry Jones 1.1 billion dollar stadium. A stadium which the NFL put up 150 million.

    Would the NFL put 150 million towards a new rams stadium? Who knows, but it would go a long way if we were aiming at 300 million.

    Heinz Field is the perfect stadium to put on the east riverfront, open air, with a terrific view of the skyline. An added bonus would be the benefit of losing Casino Queen as there are already too many Casinos in the Metro; the majority of which are supported by us. We're not Vegas.

    My question is would Missouri and Illinois fund a stadium that would be placed in Illinois? St. Louis County paid for the stadium in part but its located in the city and I don't think the county sees any revenue from it. Perhaps Rams park in earth city was the deal?

    In summation, lets build something that's serviceable and that will last and do it cost effectively. Heinz Field is the model. HOK designed it and it looks great IMO.

    • JoeBorough says:

      Mr Khan is an Illini graduate but a tenant to consider in a new stadium could be SIUE if they were to get a football team. Just three years ago they moved up to DI, status, being only 20 miles away, perhaps they could chip in for funding, driving the costs down. Rams, SIUE, Concerts. It would be nice to have that money in the metro-east. A growing thriving metro-east certainly does more for the region than sprawling west county. A strong metro-east reaffirms the city as the core of the region, does it not?

    • Heinz Field may be a good example — near but not in the immediate downtown. I don't see a need to displace the Casino Queen — they have very recent buildings. A stadium just across the river would be visually attractive.

    • JZ71 says:

      You may not like the Casino Queen, but it IS the biggest tax generator for East St. Louis, so “making it go away” won't be easy. Much better to drop a new stadium on the Illinois side of the river, between the Eads and King bridges. Doing so would put it right next to Metrolink, make it possible to use the existing Queen parking lots AND still get a great view of the St. Louis skyline. But like others have said, paying for it will be the real trick – this taxpayer, like many others, has no interest . . .

  5. tpekren says:

    Chris, I don't think Kahn is lost on the business itself nor the fact that the Franchise itself worth more then what it cost to build the Edwards Dome in the first place. I'm one of those sceptics who thinks Kahn is making a shrewd and wise investment in a NFL team. However, that doesn't necessarily translate into a committment to the Metro area by any stretch of the imagination. Nor should the region assume that a year to year lease will suffice. Its giving him a free pass as a business man. I would love the PD Editorial and others like Steve start questioning the region on what we should do. So far, Steve and the occassional column from Bernie on PD's sports page is the only thing I have seen written.

    • MEanerness says:

      Personally, I feel the stadium should be located up in North St. Louis. That would help that area receive an even bigger boom that it needs.

      • JoeBorough says:

        The old Pruitt-Igoe spot is often brought up, if a North-South Metrolink line were to ever go up along Jefferson Ave, that would make it more attractive but again I worry about the need for parking.

        The east riverfront remains my favorite location, I can't imagine anyone missing a Casino, new buildings or not. There's plenty of room for parking and tailgating and traveling across the river via water taxi could make for a fun gameday experience.

        Looking at this pic it looks as if there's enough room where the Casino could stay. I think what'll be interesting is what is done to the eastbank when the Arch Grounds competition is over. I'm not holding my breath though, I think in the end I'll be disappointed. Building stadiums seems to always be a messy affair.

        • I had thought Pruitt-Igoe too a few years ago but the site is now spoken for. Adjacent to downtown each as the east bank of the river or the gap between downtown and Soulard is better than say Fenton.

  6. Jennifer_Metro says:

    I like the dome downtown; my only beef is that true football is played in an outside stadium. I think Seattle did a beautiful job with Qwest field and St. Louis would do better to emulate that than to build a fancy new dome. Let's get outside in the cold and cheer for some football, darn it! But there's plenty of space downtown for development right now and no sense tearing down a perfectly good dome. Having the dome in the city emphasizes the importance of downtown; and honestly without Busch and the dome downtown I wonder how many suburbanites would never even see the city?

    • Seattle's stadium is on the extreme edge of their downtown, equal to having a stadium at say the old Nooter Corp site between downtown and Soulard. I'd support that location.

  7. jeff says:

    “Metro East” is too broad of an option – I think it should be on the immediate east bank of the Mississippi across from downtown. Belleville or Collinsville or Edwardsville would not be appropriate but fall within the definition of “Metro East”

  8. Double J says:

    While I think the current dome is lifeless it still gets use outside of the handful of football games that get played there every year. Moving it out of downtown in the future will be a loss to convention business for large events. Having a dome with a retractable roof and being multi-purpose will be ideal. Location tbd of course.

    • If & when a new football stadium is built the existing dome can remain in place until it is no longer needed. That is unless the new facility is built on the same location. But I don't think that could be done in such a short time period.

      • JZ71 says:

        IF the decision is made to build a new footbal stadium, the best use for the old Jones dome would be to gut it and make the shell a real, full-time part of the convention center complex, not the ill-functioning “multipurpose” thing that it is now. And what really needs to be torn down is the parking garage that takes a big chunk out of the functionality now.

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