Wednesday is the first critical deadline in determining whether the Rams will stay in St. Louis or if the team could leave the gateway city. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission gave a plan to the Rams today on improving the Edward Jones Dome.
The pitch to the Rams calls for $124 million in upgrades, including building a new 50,000 square foot building with a two tier connector bridge in Baer Park.
The facility would be dubbed a “geek suite” outfitted with state of the art technology.
The upgrades are needed because by contract with the Rams can break the lease every 10 years if the dome falls short of first tier status.
$30 million has already been poured into the dome in upgrades since 2005 and the CVC’s plans would build on the amenities already in place and add some new attractions.
CVC President Kitty Ratcliff says the proposal includes new suites and club seats, a center hung scoreboard with two 90 by 27 foot screens, better concessions, a courtyard experience, a pedestrian plaza and more natural light in the dome.
Mayor Francis Slay says the city is going to play hardball with the Rams when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars re-furbishing the dome.
The mayor says the city’s taking a very narrow view of what it has to do at the dome.
“We’d like them to stay, but of course it’s got to make sense,” said Mayor Slay. “Certainly from their standpoint it’s got to make sense for them and from our standpoint it’s got to make sense for us and the taxpayers as well.”
The CVC has taken a hard line in the talks telling the Rams last Friday that the team`s plans to play one home game a year for the next three years violates the team`s lease.
The Rams have until March 1st to accept or reject the CVC’S offer then until May 1st to make a counteroffer.
The two sides go to arbitration if there is no deal by June 15th.