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  • Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations

    Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations
    By Christopher Tritto
    St. Louis Business Journal
    Updated: July 16, 2004
    Officials with the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority are questioning a proposed amendment to the St. Louis Rams' lease of the Edward Jones Dome and want a direct role in negotiations of stadium upgrades.

    Sports Complex Authority officials said a recently negotiated agreement between the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC) and the Rams has the potential to bankrupt the public fund established to pay for stadium improvements, threaten the long-term viability of the Dome and jeopardize the Rams' future in St. Louis.

    The proposed amendment to the lease, submitted by the CVC to the Authority in a letter dated June 8, would allow the Rams to request any stadium improvements team owners deem necessary to keep the Dome among the top 25 percent of all NFL facilities. The CVC seeks immediate approval of the amendment, although the Rams are not expected to provide their list of improvements until Sept. 1.

    Authority Chairman Larry Deskins and Executive Director Kent Underwood said the CVC would then be obligated to carry out those upgrades using Authority funds, regardless of cost. If the CVC fails to meet the team's demands, the Rams could be released from their 30-year lease as early as next July -- 20 years ahead of schedule.

    But a lawyer for the CVC said Deskins and Underwood have misinterpreted the amendment language.

    "The document does not commit the CVC or the stadium Authority to any specific components of the list that the Rams will be submitting in September," said Greg Smith, an attorney with Husch & Eppenberger LLC who represents the CVC. "We'll negotiate that. It does not create any kind of commitment to agree to a list we have not seen."

    Neither Kim Tucci, chairman of the CVC, nor Carole Moody, president of the CVC, could be reached for comment.

    The CVC's proposal cannot be accepted without Authority approval. The Authority, created in 1988 to raise funds for land acquisition and construction of the Dome, is charged with protecting the taxpayer money used to pay off bonds issued by the state, county and city. It also appropriates public preservation funds for stadium maintenance and upgrades.

    But Deskins and Underwood have been excluded from participating in the Rams' lease negotiations since January. The CVC leases the Dome from the Authority and subleases the stadium to the Rams.

    "The CVC is the lessor with the Rams and has the responsibility for all subleasing for all users of the facilities and is appropriately the primary party to deal with these issues," Smith said. "The Authority's responsibility is to make appropriations from the preservation funds on request from the CVC."

    In a July 13 letter to the CVC's Tucci and Moody, Underwood listed several concerns about the proposed amendment's lack of specificity. The amendment has not been presented to the Authority's 11-member board of commissioners.

    "Without more, the Authority can neither evaluate nor predict its ability to meet the time and financial requirements of this project," Underwood wrote. He also requested a meeting with CVC officials.

    "We would like to be included in the negotiations (with the Rams) and be fully engaged," Deskins told the Business Journal. "We are custodians of the fund and have a budget. We firmly believe if all parties are reasonable we can come to a solution that will satisfy everyone. But we have always been concerned about the bifurcated process the mayor's (St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay) office has insisted on. The piecemeal approach rarely works in any negotiation."

    Under the terms of the Rams' 30-year lease, the CVC is required to maintain the Dome as a "first-tier" NFL venue. That means that every 10 years, the stadium must rank among the top 25 percent of all NFL facilities.

    If the CVC and Rams cannot agree on "first-tier" improvements within the Authority's available budget by next July 31, the Rams could be freed from their 30-year lease and convert to a year-to-year lease, according to bond documents.

    With the deadline approaching to measure the Dome against the standard, the CVC's proposed amendment would greenlight an unspecified set of improvements to the stadium's box suites; club seats and lounge; lighting, sound and communications systems; and the playing field. It also would provide CVC approval of an additional unspecified list of improvements from the Rams on Sept. 1 based on what the Rams owners would deem necessary for the Dome to meet the "first-tier" standard next July, Deskins and Underwood told the Business Journal. Those additional upgrades would have to be completed by July 31, 2007.

    Underwood and Deskins said the amendment is too open-ended for their consideration.

    The Authority receives $4 million a year in taxpayer funds to maintain the Dome as well as pay for "first-tier" upgrades. As with the Dome's construction bonds, half of that money comes from state coffers and the remaining 50 percent is funded equally by St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis.

    Authority officials have budgeted more than $20 million to implement "first-tier" improvements between 2003 and 2008. That amount is based on recommendations made by consultant Ron Labinski, a founder of a Kansas City-based facility design firm HOK Sport+Venue+Event. The Authority paid for Labinski's report after the CVC and the Rams approved the Authority's selection of Labinski, Deskins and Underwood said.

    Since the Dome opened in November 1995, 17 new or renovated NFL facilities have been completed across the country.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations

    It would be interesting to know what upgrades to the dome the rams had in mind. Note of course that the only reference is to upgrades in the private suites, a sad but true reality regarding where the revenue comes from. Revenue from the gate is shared by the owners, suite revenue, i believe, is not. If i am mistaken about that, please someone correct me.

    ramming speed to all

    sign the big man

    general counsel


    • #3
      Re: Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations

      Not just the private suites.

      The Rams want to upgrade the video and score board stuff to make it like the seahawks screen (bloody huge) plus they want to change the surface to grass

      Keeping the Rams Nation Talking


      • #4
        Re: Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations

        What effect would a change to grass have on us? would it slow us down? i assume you mean the kind of grass/turf that detroit has.

        ramming speed to all

        general counsel


        • #5
          Re: Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations

          Originally posted by general counsel
          What effect would a change to grass have on us? would it slow us down? i assume you mean the kind of grass/turf that detroit has.

          ramming speed to all

          general counsel
          yep they are also looking at the stuff put down by washington huskers (is it the same as the lions?)

          Keeping the Rams Nation Talking


          • #6
            Re: Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations

            The "grass stuff" is "FieldTurf" or something close to that I believe. Two rather wealthy high schools near me have it, and I have played a bunch of times on the stuff as a high school football player. Pretty sure the lions have it... some colleges do too.

            It is basically short, plastic (though soft) grass with these weird black rubber pebbles under it. It feels really fast (compaired to grass with mud under it anyway) but doesn't have the "ouch" factor of Astroturf, like the Rams have, where you get cut up real bad and bruised when you fall on it because it is just a concrete floor with a green painted carpet on top. The only complaint you can make about this fieldturf stuff is that the little black pebbles (rubber) fly up and get in your clothes and eyes (if you head gets slammed into the ground)... but other than that, its perfect for indoor stadiums!



            • #7
              Re: Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations

              The only problem as far as I know is that it can not be lifted. Thats whats stopping it going down at the Ed

              Keeping the Rams Nation Talking


              • #8
                Re: Dome authority wants say in Rams negotiations

                Will cows eat it?

                ramming speed to all

                general counsel


                Related Topics


                • r8rh8rmike
                  St. Louis CVC Asks Judge Whether Dome Records Should Be Released Publicly
                  by r8rh8rmike
                  St. Louis CVC asks judge whether Dome records should be released publicly

                  BY MATTHEW HATHAWAY
                  Wednesday, May 2, 2012

                  ST. LOUIS • The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission wants a judge's ruling on whether it is obligated to publicly release the Rams' proposal for renovating the Edward Jones Dome.

                  The CVC this morning filed a petition in St. Louis Circuit Court to get a determination on whether the Rams' plan, and other records related to the Dome lease, must be released per the state's Sunshine Law, or whether the records qualify for exemptions and can be kept out of public view.

                  In a counter suit filed this afternoon, the Post-Dispatch seeks a court order forcing the CVC to release the Rams' Dome-improvement plan, as well as other documents the commission has so far refused to make public.

                  The CVC acted this morning after the Post-Dispatch had previously informed the agency that the news organization would sue to obtain the documents. The Post-Dispatch contends that the Rams' plan should be released to the public and does not qualify for exemptions from the Sunshine Law.

                  The Rams' lease for the Dome requires that the building be a "first tier" facility by 2015. The CVC, which runs the Dome, and the Rams have exchanged plans on how to do so. The Rams have already rejected the CVC's $124 million proposal and presented their own plan on Tuesday. The CVC and Rams have declined to release that proposal, which the CVC has until June 1 to accept or reject.

                  In its legal filing, the CVC argues that since talks with the Rams are still proceeding, "there is a very real danger that public knowledge of on-going negotiations might adversely affect the legal considerations for any lease amendment."

                  The CVC also contends that "various interest groups and citizens will have diverse and conflicting opinions" regarding proposed improvements and that they "will undoubtedly attempt to put pressure on the CVC, as well as elected officials...regarding the outcome of these negotiations."

                  The filing points, however, that the CVC "has no intention of shielding any eventual agreement with the Rams from public disclosure or scrutiny."

                  The CVC further argues that if it is not legally required to release the documents but does so, it could breach a confidentiality clause in the Dome lease, potentially opening the door for the team to terminate the lease altogether.

                  The CVC has argued to the Post-Dispatch that the lease's confidentiality clause prevented the release of records. But public-records experts say such a clause cannot trump the state's Sunshine Law. The CVC also has argued that records related to the Dome talks qualify for exemptions under the Sunshine Law.

                  The Post-Dispatch maintains that none of the exemptions...
                  -05-06-2012, 11:45 AM
                • MauiRam
                  CVC and Rams will negotiate before Dome dispute goes to arbitration
                  by MauiRam
                  BY MATTHEW HATHAWAY
                  Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2012

                  ST. LOUIS • After rejecting the Rams' plan to improve the Edward Jones Dome, the public agency that operates the downtown facility said it wants to negotiate with the franchise before the Dome-renovation issue — and, possibly, the future of the Rams in St. Louis — is put in the hands of arbitrators this month.

                  The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which manages the Dome, rejected on Friday a Rams' proposal that called for much of the stadium to be rebuilt with bigger VIP areas, more concession facilities and a sliding roof panel. City officials have estimated the team's proposal could cost $700 million and would make it impossible to book large conventions during construction.

                  The Rams' proposal was a counteroffer to a much more modest renovation plan put forward Feb. 1 by the CVC. Under that plan, the team would have picked up 52 percent of the $124 million construction costs. The Rams plan did not indicate how much, if anything, the franchise would be willing to contribute.

                  The dueling plans come as a result of a clause in the team's 1995 lease of the Dome that requires it to be a "first-tier" facility in 15 categories by 2015. If that doesn't happen, the Rams can terminate the lease after the 2014 season — 10 years before the 30-year lease would otherwise expire.

                  In a statement on its rejection of the Rams' plan, the CVC suggested it hopes to find some middle ground with the Rams before a June 15 deadline triggers mandatory, binding arbitration.

                  "The St. Louis CVC expressed to the St. Louis Rams that it believes that it is in the best interest of the community and the Rams to engage in meaningful dialogue over the next two weeks," the statement said, "and (the CVC) looks forward to the opportunity to do so at the earliest convenience of Rams management."

                  A Rams spokeswoman said that only Kevin Demoff, the team's executive vice president for football operations, is authorized to speak publicly about Dome-renovation issues and that he was unavailable Friday. The spokeswoman read a statement she attributed to Demoff that appears to welcome the informal negotiations.

                  "We are in receipt of the CVC's letter today and share their belief that the two sides should engage in further discussions," the statement said. "We believe this would be a productive next step in the first-tier process."

                  Although the lease requires the CVC and the Rams to meet before arbitration "to attempt to resolve their differences," it sets few ground rules for those talks.

                  Any proposals made during the talks would be confidential, according to the lease, and the two sides are free to soften their positions without fear that those concessions will be used against them during arbitration.

                  -06-02-2012, 01:27 PM
                • r8rh8rmike
                  Rams' Dome-Rehab Plan Includes Sliding Roof
                  by r8rh8rmike
                  Rams' dome-rehab plan includes sliding roof, rebuilt Broadway side

                  BY MATTHEW HATHAWAY
                  Monday, May 14, 2012

                  The St. Louis Rams’ vision for the Edward Jones Dome includes a significant expansion and the addition of an "operable roof panel" that could be opened to allow more natural light during game days, according to a renovation plan the franchise sent to the public agency that operates the Dome.

                  Although the plan attaches no dollar amount to the improvements, sources familiar with the plans say the cost could range from $500 million to $750 million. The latest crop of new National Football League stadiums have costs close to $1 billion or more.

                  The roof would not be fully retractable, at least not in the way that most fans understand the term. Instead, an angled portion of the new roof would slide away to reveal more daylight.

                  A more significant change would require the eastern half of the Dome be demolished and rebuilt over an expanded footprint that would include what is now a section of Broadway and a nearby plaza.

                  The new east section would include much larger concourses, as well enhanced seating, lobbies and entrances. Two so called "party platforms" — located close to the end zones — would allow for additional, temporary seating.

                  Many of those areas would be open to natural light as well, thanks to a glass curtain wall that would make up much of the Dome's new east facade.

                  Critics of the Dome have complained that the facility is too dark and that it can be difficult to enter and exit. The Rams' plan would address both concerns. The roof panel and the curtain wall would bring more bring more light inside, and the newly built half of the Dome would include larger entrances at the northeast and southeast corners.

                  In addition, there would be an entrance in the middle of the eastern facade. Currently, only members of the media and special-needs customers are allowed to enter on the east Broadway side.

                  The plan also would reconfigure existing seating to allow more flexibility for non-football events, including NCAA basketball games and international soccer matches. (Rams owner Stan Kroenke also owns an English soccer team, the London-based Arsenal Football Club.)

                  Stadium capacity would remain the same -- about 66,000 -- but the Dome would include spaces where additional, temporary seats could be installed.

                  "The facility design should allow the seating bowl to be economically expanded to accommodate a Super Bowl event," according to the plan. "A minimum of 6,000 additional seats will be required to meet the NFL requirements."

                  The April 30 plan was a closely guarded secret until this morning, when it was made public by the office of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. The plan is a counter...
                  -05-14-2012, 02:52 PM
                • r8rh8rmike
                  CVC Enters Arbitration With Rams
                  by r8rh8rmike
                  CVC enters arbitration with Rams; deadline is Dec. 31

                  BY MATTHEW HATHAWAY
                  Friday, June 15, 2012

                  ST. LOUIS • After months spent exchanging plans and rejections, the St. Louis Rams and the team's landlord soon will enter less predictable territory: putting renovations of the Edward Jones Dome in the hands of three arbitrators.

                  The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the Dome, voted on Thursday to begin the arbitration process. The CVC and Rams had until today to reach a deal on renovating the Dome or head into binding arbitration.

                  The arbitrators will evaluate competing Dome-renovation proposals from the CVC and the Rams and either endorse one of the plans or create a new one of their own.

                  If the CVC doesn't agree to renovations that the arbitrators say are required, the Rams would be free to terminate the lease after the 2014 season — 10 years before the lease otherwise would expire. If the Rams terminate the lease, the team can continue at the Dome on a year-to-year basis, or just move out.

                  The Rams did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

                  The CVC meeting, which was closed to the public and held via teleconference, lasted 23 minutes. The vote was not a surprise, as negotiations had been expected to head to arbitration.

                  "It's not the end of the process, it's more like the beginning," said Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who appoints five of the CVC's 11 commissioners.

                  The lease says the CVC and Rams must make "reasonable efforts" to finish arbitration by Dec. 31.

                  The negotiations were touched off by a clause in the Rams' 30-year lease that requires the Dome to be a "first-tier" facility by 2015, or one that is better than three-quarters of all National Football League venues in 15 categories.

                  No other NFL team and city have found themselves in this situation before — negotiating over how to renovate a relatively young stadium and with a mandate to make it "first tier."

                  Now, three arbitrators, to be chosen jointly by the CVC and the team, will hear the case.

                  If the parties can't agree on who should serve as arbitrators, they will take turns striking names from a list of 13 selected by the American Arbitration Association. At least seven people on the list must be retired judges who do not live in Missouri or California, the Rams' former home state.

                  After the arbitrators agree on a "first-tier" plan, the CVC will have 60 days to decide its next move. It can agree to move forward with the plan backed by arbitrators, or do nothing and allow the Rams to terminate the lease.

                  According to the lease, the cost of arbitration must be paid by the prevailing party. It's not clear who pays if arbitrators endorse...
                  -06-18-2012, 04:45 PM
                • Nick
                  Rams' dome upgrade plan unlikely
                  by Nick
                  Rams' dome upgrade plan unlikely
                  Updated: February 4, 2013, 3:21 PM ET
                  Associated Press

                  ST. LOUIS -- An attorney for the agency that runs the home of the St. Louis Rams says it is unlikely it will implement the team's plan to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome.

                  Already, there is speculation about a new stadium.

                  Arbitrators ruled last week in favor of the team's plan for upgrading the dome to "top-tier" status as required by the lease agreement with the dome owner, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. The CVC had proposed $124 million in renovations. The Rams didn't put a price tag on their plan but CVC and city officials believe it would cost $700 million to $800 million.

                  The CVC has 30 days from the date of the ruling on Friday to decide if it will try to implement the Rams' plan, though attorney Greg Smith said Monday that step was "unlikely." Smith did not offer a timetable on the CVC decision.

                  A spokesman for the Rams did not return messages seeking comment Monday. But Jeff Rainford, chief of staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said there was almost no chance the CVC will even try to garner public support for spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to improve the dome.

                  "It will clearly be the job of the St. Louis civic community to keep the Rams in St. Louis, but with the least amount of public subsidy possible," Rainford said.

                  Unless the CVC implements the plan approved by arbitrators, the Rams' lease of the dome becomes year-to-year starting in March 2015. That creates the possibility that the Rams could leave St. Louis.

                  Rams management has said the team wants to stay, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week he was hopeful the stadium situation would be resolved. But the Rams have also been adamant that the dome is inferior to most NFL stadiums.

                  The CVC a year ago proposed improvements that included better amenities and a massive new scoreboard. It would have required to Rams to pay for $64 million of the $124 million cost. Voter approval in the city and county would have been required for the rest.

                  The Rams countered with a much more elaborate plan calling for a new roof with a sliding panel, replacing much of the brick exterior with a glass front, even re-routing a nearby street. The Rams did not say how it would be funded.

                  Three members of the American Arbitration Association -- retired Colorado judge Federico C. Alvarez of Denver, former judge David Blair of Sioux City, Iowa, and labor attorney Sinclair Kossoff of Chicago -- found problems with the dome that indicated a need for a massive overhaul. Among other things, they noted it is among the smallest stadiums in the NFL, and wrote the dome "lacks openness, light and air" that would require installation of an expensive retractable roof to resolve.

                  -02-04-2013, 05:24 PM