The St. Louis Rams' counter proposal for renovations to the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis were revealed on Monday. Hours after the Missouri Attorney General released the team's plan, cost estimates ranging from $500 million to $750 million surfaced. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay called for the city's Convention and Visitors Commission to reject the plan, as reported by the Associated Press.
Jeff Rainford, the mayor's chief of staff, warned that the price tag for the Rams' proposal was too much for city and state taxpayers to bear. No breakdown of how the Rams' plan would be paid for was presented.
On top of the cost to the public for paying for stadium renovations, Rainford warned of the hidden costs of closing the facility to conventions during the construction phase. The mayor's aide said that the Rams' plan could potentially close the Dome to convention business for up to three years at an estimated cost of some $500 million.
Nevertheless, the mayor's office was quick to point out that the city was not giving up on working out a deal with the Rams.
"This region paid a pretty penny to bring the Rams here," Rainford said. "We're not going to give up on keeping the Rams in the Dome."
The current version of the Edward Jones Dome was built in 1995 at a cost of $256 million, mostly through bonds. Repayment of the 30-year debt totals $720 million. The State of Missouri pays $12 million annually toward that cost along with $6 million apiece from St. Louis city and county.
The Rams' lease on the Dome includes an clause that allows the team out of its lease in March 2015 if the facility does not meet "first tier" requirements. The definition of those "first tier" requirements is vague and the subject of negotiations between the Rams and the CVC.
If the Rams and the CVC cannot agree on a plan by June 15, the matter goes to arbitration, with a non-binding decision due by the end of the year.