If the Convention and Visitors Commission's $124 million proposal for renovating the Edward Jones Dome was a modest fix up to the building, a counter proposal from the St. Louis Rams offers a complete face lift of the place.
Released Monday morning by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the Rams' plan spells out a long list of upgrades that would most certainly put the Dome among the "top tier" of NFL facilities. The plan also makes it clear that the team envisions a home capable of hosting a Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four and a wide range of additional events that could make the Dome a downtown draw. The only thing not included, it seems, in the Rams' counter offer was a price tag; that will be up to the CVC to determine.
Earlier reports of a retractable roof proved to be off the mark. Rather than a retractable roof in the most commonly though-of idea, the Rams' plan calls for a smaller "operable roof panel" which lets in natural light and ventilation to the seating areas.
When reports of a retractable roof first surfaced, it lent credence to the notion that the Rams' proposal would carry a much higher price tag than the one presented by the CVC. While the roof plans are different than expected, a big part of the costs of the Rams' plan would stem from demolishing the east side of the building. The field would be shifted more than 51 feet to the east. That would allow for fixes and upgrades to the seating area, as well as other features such as lobbies and lounges.
Club seats and premium suites would also get a makeover, but the plan does not include specifics as to how many premium seats would be included in the expansion. There are 12 field level suites in the plan, along with tens of thousands of square footage for suites.
Instead of the large video scoreboard in the middle of the stadium included in the CVC plan, the Rams plan would add two corner videoboards, measuring 37' x 97' in the northeast and southwest corners.
Throughout this process, the Rams have maintained their desire to make the Dome a premier event center in the city and region.
The plan includes removable seating needed for convention space as well as to meet the seating requirements for hosting a Super Bowl, an event the plan mentions by name. The Vikings announced their intention to apply for the 2017 Super Bowl the day after their stadium plans were approved by the Minnesota State Legislature.
Soccer fans will be interested to learn that the plans also call for the Dome to accommodate both national and international soccer games. Rams owner Stan Kroenke also owns a majority stake in the English Premier League's Arsenal.
Team COO Kevin Demoff said in the accompanying letter that the team did not feel that the CVC plan made the Dome a first tier facility, in line with the lease requirements.
The team's plan calls for the CVC to determine the costs of the renovation. Once the costs are determined, the two sides can set about determining how those will be paid for. The Rams may be able to get assistance in the form a loan from the NFL's G4 program, depending on costs and the breakdown of who pays for what.
If the Rams and the CVC cannot agree to a plan by June 15, the matter heads to non-binding arbitration with a decision due by the end of the year.