Bob Barker and Drew Carey never gave away a parting gift like this away on the "Price Is Right"... Twenty acres for $1, that's all a land gobbler like Stan Kroenke has to pay for Rams Park in Earth City, MO. It was no doubt a sweetener added to try to tie the Rams to St. Louis in their lease with the Edward Jones Dome authority:
"On its face, the lease says the Rams have the right to buy Rams Park for $1. Moreover, it says, that option "shall survive any termination of the Lease regardless of the reason for such termination, and Lessee shall after any termination continue to have the right to exercise the Option as herein provided." - From and article by David Hunn, St. Louis Post - Dispatch
After spending around $16 million in their 11th hour effort to get the Rams to stay in St. Louis, the Dome Authority would like to sell the land to help recoup some of the money. The land has an estimated value of around $19 million.
Attorneys are going to take this one, which always ends up great, right? They're going to argue about the difference between "termination" and "expiration", which is what the Rams allowed their lease to do since they were on a "year to year" deal. The legal team for the authority is seeking to block the Rams' Stan Kroenke from exercising his $1 option.
David Peacock, who did an outstanding job - in my opinion - offered his thoughts:
"I think it would be bad form and in bad character," said Dave Peacock, co-chairman of the effort to build the riverfront football stadium, along with attorney Bob Blitz. "Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it right." - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
He's right, but I can't but think it's less right than he does. To my mind, the lease option was dangled as bait for Kroenke, and he swallowed it after seeing he had little risk in doing so. If you want to think of it in another way, it was an inducement, put forward in desirable language that veers marginally close an ethically dubious area. I know this kind of thing is done all the time by cities to induce major employers to bring jobs into local economies, so I'm actually fine with it. Still, after Kroenke's rant about St. Louis following the re-location vote by the NFL that allowed him to move to Los Angeles, this little piece of "Earth" may be something he should let slide...
But Billionaires like their money, don't they?