When it was built in 1995, St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome was one of the biggest public financing projects in stadium history. The stadium cost $256 in bonds but by the time the debt on those is paid off, the public will have kicked in $720 million. The dome was designed to lure an NFL team back to St. Louis, which it did. But the most significant part of that effort was the lease that St. Louis signed with the Rams ownership. The lease requires the city to keep the stadium in the “top tier” of NFL stadiums or else the Rams can break their 30-year lease. What exactly constitutes “top tier” is the multimillion dollar question though.
The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission on February 1 offered up a $124 million plan for a new stadium, windows and club seats. But that’s not near enough for the Rams. The team wants a retractable roof and the demolition of half the stadium for other purposes. They haven’t officially put a price tag on their requested renovations, but a construction company estimates it will be $700 million and would make the convention center largely useless for two years.
If the Rams are to stay in St. Louis, the team and the city will have to meet somewhere between $124 million and $700 million, but it may ultimately be up to an arbitrator to decide what renovations are necessary for a “top-tier” stadium. But rest assured, whatever those renovations are, they are sure to cost the public a lot more money…
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