St. Louis approves stadium financing deal in effort to keep Rams
- The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved the financing package for a new, $1.1 billion Rams stadium, on a vote of 17-10, in the hopes the city will keep Rams owner Stan Kroenke from moving the NFL team to Los Angeles, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The plan must now be presented by Dec. 30 to NFL owners, who will decide if the Rams stay or go.
- In an effort to expedite a stadium plan, the board went to court to invalidate an ordinance requiring voter approval for any money spent on a new stadium. According to the approved plan, the city would finance $150 million, and the balance would come from the state, the NFL and Kroenke.
- Part of the Rams contract with the city specifies that the stadium must be top-tier, superior to three-quarters of all NFL stadiums in 2015, or the team could break the lease, the Post-Dispatch reported. It is widely acknowledged that the current stadium does not meet that condition, and city officials have grappled with plans for a new venue for more than a year.
"We recognize that our proposal will require extensive review before it is considered for approval by the NFL. We are confident that it will be well received," the Board of Alderman said in a statement.
However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has issued a written warning to the city that the NFL provides a maximum of $200 million to build stadiums, and that the approved bill contradicts this rule.
Goodell wrote that the premise of the approved bill is that the league has committed $300 million to the stadium proposal, which "is fundamentally inconsistent with the NFL’s program of stadium financing."
In response to Goodell's claim, Alderman Jack Coatar said approval of the bill with a $300 million NFL commitment would "show the NFL management and Stan Kroenke that we’re not going to be pushed around."
The plan was amended in November to include "transformative" minority hiring goals in the building and managing of the new stadium. The plan requires 25% minority participation and sets aside money to guarantee loans, furnish administrative assistance, speed up payments to minority, women and veteran-owned businesses and create an electronic database of minority workers to be used on future public projects.
The plan also calls for $1.3 million to be designated for recruitment, training and payment of living expenses for some new workers.