St. Louis Rams
5:12 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Arbitrators Pick Rams Plan For Edward Jones Dome Revamp

Updated 5:29 p.m. with comment from the CVC and addition of full arbitrators' report.

According to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, arbitrators have chosen the plan put forth by the St. Louis Rams for the revamping of the stadium in which they play, the Edward Jones Dome.

As we've previously reported, the CVC owns the Dome,  and today's decision stems from a stipulation in the team's lease of the stadium. The lease agreement requires the dome to be among the top quarter of all NFL stadiums by 2015 or the Rams can break the lease - which raised concerns they could leave St. Louis. 

The CVC had proposed $124 million in renovations. The Rams' plan would cost at least $700 million, according to CVC estimates.

Both the Rams and the CVC agreed to an arbitration process to weigh the two plans.

The arbitrators were two retired judges, one from Iowa and one from Colorado, and a labor attorney from Chicago.

Now, the CVC has to review the terms presented by the arbitrators. If the CVC does not agree, the Rams are free to terminate their long-term lease after 2014. If the CVC accepts the proposal, the Rams must stay in the Dome until the lease expires in 2025.

Greg Smith, an attorney for the CVC responded to the news this evening, saying that approval of the Rams' plan is "unlikely."

"Today the three Arbitrators who were charged with deciding the "First Tier" dispute between the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and the St. Louis Rams made their decision and ruled in favor of the St. Louis Rams.  The Arbitrators determined that due to several structural deficiencies in the size and dimensions of the Edward Jones Dome that only the Rams May 2012 Plan for demolishing and rebuilding the facility will make it First Tier under the terms of the existing lease between the parties.


Under the terms of the Lease, the CVC will shortly determine, after consultation with its public partners, whether to notify the Rams that it will or will not commence the improvements called for by the Arbitrators decision.  The CVC believes that a decision by CVC and the Sponsors under the Lease to commence construction of the Rams May 2012 improvements, which we estimate to cost in excess of $750 million, is very unlikely.  The more likely outcome of this proceeding will be that effective March 15, 2015, the Rams lease will be converted to a year-to-year lease.  The Rams decision with regard to its plans beyond that date is of course up to them." 

Here's the full arbitrators' report, furnished by Husch Blackwell, who employs Smith:

Arbitrators' Report - Rams/CVC by St. Louis Public Radio

Follow St. Louis Public Radio on Twitter: @stlpublicradio