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Rams Proposal For Edward Jones Dome Calls For Significant Changes To Structure And Broadway

May 15, 2012 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Politics/Policy 23 Comments

As promised, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster released the confidential proposal from the St. Louis Rams to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC).

To Whom It May Concern:

In compliance with Chapter 610, the Missouri Sunshine Law, Attorney General Chris Koster made the following documents publicly available in response to various media inquiries and Sunshine requests regarding ongoing negotiations between the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission and its lessee.

Respectfully,

CHRIS KOSTER

Attorney General

Their proposal is significantly different than what the CVC had proposed. To me it seems like a new facility given how much would be entirely new.

ABOVE: Plan calls for removing most existing seating and the roof, moving the field 51'-8" to the east
ABOVE: Dome would be expanded across the existing Broadway and Baer Plaza

This means the dome is getting significantly larger than it is currently. The near corner of the drawing above includes access to the casino tunnel. The 2010 image below shows you where that is currently:

ABOVE: Baer Plaza with the Lumiere Link entrance in the foreground

As you can see that’s a lot of new building. Clearly the Rams want more than the lipstick the CVC proposed (see CVC Plan To Improve Dome Improves Broadway).

This brings up several thoughts:

  1. Perfect excuse to make 4th & Broadway each two-way rather than the current one-way configurations
  2. This would work well with the boulevard replacement of the I-70 elevated lanes, see CitytoRiver.org
  3. Unlikely the St, Louis region is going to pony up the money for this.

I haven’t read the proposal in detail yet. You can read the proposal here.

– Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "23 comments" on this Article:

  1. Rick says:

    Time to start connecting the dots.  Build more transit oriented development nearby adjacent the Laclede’s Landing and Convention Center Metro stops. Create a Transportation Improvement District and TIF covering the Bottle District, the Edward Jones Dome, and portions of Laclede’s Landing and the adjacent north riverfront to help bring financing and pay for the boulevard plan.

     
  2. Moe says:

    They have two choices:  1)  Instill a luxury tax on the luxury boxes or 2)  Start packing.

    It’s no wonder the Rams tried so hard to keep the negotiations secret. 700 Million???????

     
  3. Rick says:

    $700,000,000 + the $350,000,000 or so for the existing facility comes to the approximate $1billion price tag of a top tier facility by current standards.  No surprise really.  If they move, they will move to a $1B facility someplace else, with one already in the works in LA.  There is a way to do this.  But it would be whole lot better for St. Louis if the project resulted in a greater regional destination than simply a football stadium.  A project like this should be transformational. If it were out in the burbs, not so much of a concern about transformative impact.  In the heart of downtown St. Louis, absolutely.  This will take a lot of creativity and financial expertise.  But there is a way to do this.  

     
    • Eric says:

       “Transformative” projects do not have a good record, for example St Louis Centre. Smaller may be better.

       
      • Rick says:

        Smaller is better?  Cheaper is better?   Fenton is better?  Owners are rich, they can pay for it?   Sounds like LA is the answer.

         
  4. RyleyinSTL says:

    I can’t see how a 1 billion dollar project to “upgrade” the foot ball stadium is at all justifiable given that current dome seems to work just fine for it’s intend purpose (ya, it’s not an inspired structure, doesn’t relate well to it’s surroundings, but you can watch foot ball in it well enough).  St. louis’s hot and humid weather hardly sounds like the ideal candidate for a removable roof and do the Rams actually need more seating?  I have never been to a sellout game.

    Just imagine what else a billion could accomplish in this city.  Feed hungry mouths, infrastructure backlog, upgrade parks, etc, etc….  

     
    • Rick says:

      Some may see this as an either/or, i.e. feed hungry mouths or subsidize professional sports.  That’s all well and good.  Understand though that’s not how the NFL views it.  Or other regions.  The only way for a plan like this to fly in a smaller market city like St. Louis is to figure out how to expand the pie so there are leveraged benefits beyond the stadium.  Doing so will require creativity and collaboration.  Does the NFL *want* to be in St. Louis?  That’s probably the first question. 

       
  5. JZ71 says:

    While I’m adamantly opposed to giving into this type of blackmail, and will not support any tax proposal to make this happen, here are some thoughts should the idea gain some traction:

    One, most multi-use facilities are rarely great at doing any of their intended tasks.  The Jones Dome is neither a good convention space nor is it a good football stadium.  This proposal would make it a better football stadium, but would negatively impact its use for conventions.

    Two, for slightly more money, I’m betting we could build a whole new stadium (on the site of the Chrysler plant, at Riverport, somewhere on the east side) and get both the “top tier” stadium the Rams want AND free up a chunk of space that can be dedicated to conventions 12 months a year, not just 8 or 9.

    Three, it makes more sense to keep 4th and Broadway as one-way streets and to make them the new boulevard than it does to make them two way and to further destroy the street grid by making the convention complex even bigger.  (In Denver, several streets go under their convention center, there’s no reason why an expanded stadium couldn’t be built over Broadway.)

    If / when I-70 “goes away, we would be better served if the original street grid were restored by bringing back a two-way 3rd Street along the west side of the arch grounds.  Unless there is a plan to maintain the current access to the Poplar Street bridge to/from the the north (there is not, the plan is to make the ramps to/from I-55, to the south, into two-lane ramps), we’re better off expediting north-south traffic along the existing 4th and Broadway couplet.  Plus, a two-way 3rd Street would improve access to the historic areas both north and south of the arch grounds.

     
    • GG says:

      It’s not blackmail. It’s the agreement that our civic leaders including Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr agreed to. Not to mention the Rams already waived the clause after 10 years. What’s funny to me is that no one is going back and questioning those that agreed to the lease and asking why they would do such a thing.

       I don’t blame Stan Kronke for exercising leverage to his advantage, that’s good business. The CVC made the right first move as a good faith low ball offer and the Rams covered the high end and said nothing about how this would be paid for. It’s good strategy on both sides. We’re no where close to the finish line on what this deal is going to end up being and it’s clear that the city/region is going to have to cough up some money to make this happen, but I think the Rams/NFL will also pitch in. At the end of the day the only way the Rams leave is if the CVC does nothing. Most likely, they amend the lease to push out any big renovations for a few years until the economy is better and people are more willing to spend a few $$. Either way, no one throws away their leverage in a negotiation and Stan Kronke shouldn’t be condemned for being a smart businessman. 

       
      • JZ71 says:

         Disagree on two points.  One, whether it’s “blackmail” or “good business” depends on one’s perspective.  And two, “it’s clear that the city/region is going to have to cough up some money to make this happen” is by no means a sure thing.  Convincing taxpayers to pay MORE taxes for a bottom-tier team demanding top-tier amenities is going to be a tough sell, especially in this “no new taxes”, tea party environment.  But I do think that you’re correct, the CVC will attempt to appease the Rams; I’m just not sure how they’re going to be able to figure out how to convince all of us to pay for it!

         
        • GG says:

          If you sign your name to a deal representing the city and it’s a bad deal, the other side isn’t the bad guy for asking, your the bad guy for taking the deal. That’s why it’s called a contract, no one forced the city/county/cvc to sign it, thus Stan hasn’t done anything but ask that the deal be honored to this point and that’s not blackmail. I agree with Steve’s point below that if any $$ is thrown into this that it better make this a new lease and a better one for the region. 

           
          • JZ71 says:

            Stan didn’t sign the current lease, he bought / inherited it.  Negotiating is done through focusing on substantive facts – revenues, revenue sharing, new amenities, etc. – blackmail is threatening to “take your marbles and leave”.  “Good business” focuses on the bottom line, and the only real question here is IF the Rams can make “enough” money here, given the current terms and the current facilities, OR if they can make (substantially?) more money by leaving St. Louis and relocating somewhere else (LA?  London?)????  Arguing about amenities is just a smokescreen.

             
      • What is being negotiated now is the last ten years of a thirty year lease. This kind of money shoud come with a new thirty year commitment, not just a decade longer.

         
  6. Rick says:

    In baseball, a .500 average is pretty good, and everyone knows, St. Louis is first and foremost a baseball town.  That said, we were able to get the deal done to keep the Cardinals in STL City.  Keeping the Rams in town would mean batting 1.000. Anyone think we can aim that high?  Also, lots of people were willing to take the gamble that the Cardinals would not leave the city if they weren’t able to ink a deal for a new downtown ballpark.  I wonder how many of those same naysayers would predict the inevitability of the Rams leaving St. Louis if they don’t get their own stadium deal?

     
  7. Moe says:

    Well I like the idea of putting them out in Fenton….I only like it if they are willing to pay for the whole thing.  Football owners are not paupers.  They damn well can afford to  build their own stadium and then use it as they see fit.  If they don’t like it, let them leave.

    And what is wrong with having a smaller stadium?  A few sell out games might make them a more valuable commodity.  I’m so tired of sports owners having to display their “mine is bigger than your’s” attitude at the expense of the taxpayers.

     
    • bsf436 says:

       When was the last time an NFL team paid for their own stadium?  Someone along the line set a bad precedent and stopped requiring the owners to put up or shut up and it’s grown from there.  I think they should pay for stadiums themselves, but as soon as the first publicly financed stadium was built no one wanted to say no.

       
      • Eric says:

        The last time was 2010. But that was in NYC. The NFL is not going to abandon a market as large as NYC so the owners cannot threaten to leave town for a better deal elsewhere. In general the largest markets have little public financing and the smallest markets have lots.

        http://www.thedeets.com/2011/10/19/how-the-minnesota-vikings-mislead-politicians/

         
        • JZ71 says:

          Great stats – thanks!  And what it shows is that only 4 teams (Colts[$620M], Vikings[$650M], Bengals[$425M] and Cowboys[$440M]) are receiving, or have received, in excess of $350 million (our original investment) in public money, and, adjusting for inflation, only the Vikings and the Colts will be greater in net present dollars.  The majority of the stadiums (all but 5) cost less than $500M to build or rebuild.  If we need to be in the “top tier”, there appears to be absolutely no contractual reason to have to spend $700 million – that would put us well into the top three or four.

          The NFL is made up of 34 teams.  The top tier is what?  The top quarter (9 teams)?  The top 10% (4 teams)?  It appears that a very valid argument can be made that a total expenditure of $400M puts us in the top tier.  Or, as this report clearly states, “the average public contribution made toward the stadiums outlined in Merrifield’s presentation has been $249 million.”  Plus, the $700 million estimated here for our improvements is higher than the TOTAL costs of 13 of the 16 completed new stadiums studied in the report!

           
  8. Rick says:

    The 49ers are paying a large share of their new stadium cost.  The Bay Area is a different market than St. Louis.  Similarly, the San Francisco Giants paid a large share of their new stadium cost.  Doesn’t really matter. Anecdotal cases like this don’t change facts in St. Louis.  And one big fact is the NFL teams are a valuable asset to regional identity.  Regions compete for them, throw money at them, etc.  St. Louis can’t compete in that game against LA.    

     
    • JZ71 says:

      I disagree with your assertion that “NFL teams are a valuable asset to regional identity”.  Nashville was Music City before the Titans, Denver was the Mile High City before the Broncos, Chicago is much, much more than the Bears.  Yes, the Colts have enhanced Indianapolis’ identity and the Packers do define Green Bay, but I think it’s stretch to say that the Rams do much to define the St. Louis region.

      I’m also not sure where you stand in your funding arguments.  Are you saying that local taxpayers should be funding improvements, or not?  Or, are you conceding that the Rams have already decided to move to LA, so why waste the time and effort courting them to stay here?  Or, do you want a more nuanced, global approach, both keeping the Rams and leveraging these efforts to jump start both the Bottle District and Laclede’s Landing?

      At most, pro football stadiums are destinations for large numbers of people a dozen days a year.  That leaves 350+ days where they’re little used or completely unused.  Do these mostly-dead spaces really belong in the heart of an active downtown area? Or, are they better located on the periphery of downtown, or, god forbid, in the suburbs?  Is the Jones Dome presence more of a detriment than an asset in reinvigorating downtown?  Are the surface lots north of the Dome more valuable as tailgating sites than as mixed-use developments?  Is the facility so big, physically, that it blocks most pedestrian flow?

      I’ve made my position clear.  I’m not going to support any more taxpayer funding.  There are many, many better ways to spend $700 million around here than on redoing a 20-year-old facility that’s already rarely used by most taxpayers.

       
  9. Moe says:

    I agree JZ.   There is no way we are supporting any tax increase of any sort to help pay for this.  Yeah,I’ll give Stan credit for having the business accumen to align his team…the London expansion, the LA land purchase, the sky-high estimate, etc.  He knows the tax payers are done funding his penile expansion here in St. Louis and is laying the ground work to move his team.  I’ll bet the CVC could agree to 3/4 of the plan and he would still say ‘nope, not enough, bye’. 
    He’s smart, he’s leaving.  St. Louis needs to stop wasting so much money and time on this.  This is just like two county towns competing for a Walmart by throwing TIFFS…..sooner or later it has to stop.

    And to the poster about why no one asked why they entered into the agreement…doesn’t matter.  None of the past matters since we are stuck where we are with what we have.  It’s a waste of time and energy to go back and respin wheels you can’t change.

     
  10. JZ71 says:

    Here’s a great article on why any new or renovated stadium for the Rams is going to be EXPENSIVE:   http://athleticbusiness.com/articles/article.aspx?articleid=3893&zoneid=27

     

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