Updated at 11:40 with comments from Mayor Slay's office.
Updated at 9:35 with statement from CVC.
The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission has rejected a multi-million dollar proposal from the St. Louis Rams for upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay confirmed the rejection on Twitter this morning. The mayor had encouraged the CVC to reject the Rams' proposal because he thought the cost was too high.
In a statement, the CVC said it was "in the best interest of the community and the Rams to engage in meaningful dialog over the next two weeks, and looks forward to the opportunity to do so at the earliest convenience of Rams management."
The Rams’ proposal called for the removal of a large portion of the Dome’s eastern wall, and replacing it with a wall of glass. The team also wanted a roof panel that could open to allow in more natural light, and a set-up that would allow the Dome to more easily host other types of sporting events.
That would have left the Dome unable to host conventions for two to three years, said Slay's chief of staff, Jeff Rainford.
"That would have a dramatically negative impact on our hospitality industry, on our hotels and on our restaurants," he said. "We had the National Rifle Association in St. Louis, and they spent a lot of money in St. Louis."
A clause in the Rams’ lease requires the Dome to be in the top tier of NFL stadiums. If that isn’t met, the team can leave after the 2014 season.
Rainford says fans worrying about what it will take to keep the Rams in St. Louis are getting ahead of themselves. Here's the process:
- The Rams and the city have two weeks to negotiate before the matter goes to arbitration on June 15;
- A three-person panel will consider what the phrase "top-tier" means, and outline the upgrades it believes the city would have to make to meet that clause. The CVC can either accept or reject the arbitrator's determination;
- If the CVC rejects the proposal, the Rams are allowed to break the lease and play in the Dome on a year-to-year basis starting in 2015;
- If the CVC accepts the proposal, the Rams must stay in the Dome until the lease expires in 2025.