Rams & officials “far apart” on $700 million renovation.
Among issues: Retractable Roof
The Saint Louis Rams want a retractable roof added to the renovations proposed to 17-year old Edward Jones Dome. Monday the price tag for the Rams wish list of improvements and upgrades came in at $700 million – much higher than the St Louis Convention and Visitors Commission projection of around $125 million, and close to the price-tag for an entirely new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings (assuming the Minneapolis City Council gives the deal a stamp of approval.)
But once you factor in the projected revenue losses of an additional $500 million which Jeff Rainford, St. Louis Mayor Slay’s chief of staff, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch results from taking the stadium out of play for convention business while the upgrades are being made, the Minnesota stadium deal starts to look very shrewd indeed - since now the Rams are surely on the list of potential transplants to Los Angeles.
Vikings negotiations with the Minnesota legislature and Governor Mark Dayton were a source of political drama as the 2-year legislative session drew to a close, and featured an option for the team to pay whatever additional amount would be necessary for a retractable roof – by some estimate an additional $40 million above the current $975 million signed into law yesterday by Dayton.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota GOP has suffered a major fracture over the issue, with State Representative Mary Kiffmeyer committing a career-limiting email blunder by attacking a fellow Republican lawmaker, John Kriesel, for what she termed cowardice for supporting a “pro-business” bill while not standing for re-election. Blowback was immediate in local media; Kriesel, an Iraq War vet who lost both legs during his service, declared he would do whatever was in his power to frustrate Kiffmeyer’s re-election.
Negotiations in St. Louis will likely feature some of the same elements that dominated the attention of Minnesotans, including close scrutiny by local media, and speculation about job loss versus job-creation, economic development, and the cost to the metro area and state economies associated with losing a major sports franchise.