RAMS EXTRAS

Rams receive 'dynamic' new plan to renovate Edward Jones Dome

2012-08-20T16:00:00Z 2012-08-21T13:43:24Z Rams receive 'dynamic' new plan to renovate Edward Jones DomeBY JESSE BOGAN • jbogan@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8255 stltoday.com

Updated at 2:40 p.m. with comments from city officials.  

ST. LOUIS • In the continued effort to keep professional football in St. Louis, the agency that runs the Edward Jones Dome has submitted a new renovation proposal to the Rams that calls for a "dynamic building expansion."

The plan features a glass exterior, a series of outdoor terraces and more than 9,000 club seats, among other additions.

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission had previously submitted to the Rams a more modest, $124-million proposal and offered to split the cost with the team. The Rams rejected that plan and offered their own, calling for much of the stadium to be rebuilt and adding a sliding roof panel. The Rams did not specify how much, if any, the team would cover, but city officials estimated the total cost at $700 million.

Now, the CVC is putting forward a revised proposal, saying it was responding "to concerns raised" in the Rams' plan and "in subsequent discussions."

The CVC's new Dome plan does not include a cost estimate, but officials said it could be millions more.

"We do expect it to be a little bit higher than we originally planned, but not a substantial amount higher," Kitty Ratcliffe, president of the CVC, said Monday by telephone.

"It's not doubling or anything like that," she added. "We know it will be tens of millions more."

She said the financial plan won't be any different than before.

"The mayor and the county executive have been very clear that if any additional public funds are sought, that would be put before a public vote," she said.

The updated plan calls for a glass addition to the east side of the building -- facing Broadway -- to "flood the adjacent concourse and clubs with natural light and provide views of the surrounding downtown environs."

The biggest change in the plan is a 55,000-square foot addition to the existing structure, rather than a three-story structure built on Baer Plaza.

The two-sided center-hung scoreboard would be become four-sided, while scoreboards in the end zones would be removed to free up space for 1,584 club seats.

The plan also calls for renovated suites, new indoor and outdoor club lounges, larger concourses, a new two-level team store with a street entrance, 30 new escalators (bringing the total to 62) and updated lighting and signage.

The courtyard between the convention center and Dome would be converted into a pre-game "fan destination spot," including an outdoor lounge.

To address "fan safety and circulation," the CVC is still offering to close Broadway to traffic on game days. The plan also repeats a feature called for in the original proposal -- glass panels in the seating bowl to allow natural light onto the field.

The Rams have not yet commented on the newest proposal, other than to acknowledge the team received it Friday.

The team and CVC are in the process of negotiating renovations to the Dome to meet a requirement in the team's lease that the building be a "first tier" stadium by 2015. The team could potentially leave St. Louis if that standard is not met.

Since they rejected each other's initial proposals, the two sides are supposed to enter into arbitration. The arbitration process is supposed to be completed by the end of 2012.

Arbitrators have been selected, but the arbitration process hasn't started, officials said.  

"What they did is really smart," Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay, said of the latest proposal. "They looked at the Rams' proposal and then they said how can we make ours better, as it pertains to what is 'first tier.' That is what this is all about."

 

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