On Stan Kroenke, Inglewood, and the Future of the St. Louis Rams

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Rams NFL stadium site - Inglewood, CA

“Inglewood. Always up to no good.” – 2Pac

The future of the St. Louis Rams was certain to be questioned this off-season, but the news Monday changes the entire game going forward. With one powerful announcement, Rams owner Stan Kroenke has shown us the state-of-the-art 80,000 seat stadium he intends to build, right when the Rams are to announce whether to go year-to-year with their lease of the Edward Jones Dome. However, to the pain of all of us in St. Louis, his stadium will be built in Inglewood, Southwest Los Angeles, maybe three miles from Los Angeles International Airport. This comes just days before the announcements by the Dave Peacock-Bob Blitz commission called forth by Governor Nixon to present the Rams with our proposal for a new St. Louis Rams stadium, and coincides with the start of the new legislative session of the Missouri General Assembly.

As highlighted by Sam Farmer’s article in the LA Times, Stan Kroenke’s stadium plans are a joint venture with development company Stockbridge Capital Group. Based in San Francisco, Stockbridge is an $8.8BB real estate investment management firm whose most well-known project is the Sahara Casino in Las Vegas. Stockbridge subsidiary Hollywood Park Land Company has been building a new mixed-use development on the grounds of the shuttered Hollywood Park horse track since June 2014. That property is being built as a 365-day destination retail and entertainment complex, complete with residential, office, and the Hollywood Park Casino, already in operation.

Last year, Stan bought land adjacent to Hollywood Park between the old Hollywood Park and the shuttered Forum, former home for the Lakers and Kings before their relocation to Downtown Los Angeles (next to the planned Farmers Field stadium). This land was originally owned by Walmart, his wife’s family’s company, which envisioned a Supercenter at the site before Inglewood told them no. Walmart sold the land, then Stan reacquired it.

In total, Stan’s property and the former Hollywood Park will be co-developed into a 300-acre master project. Stockbridge will build it, and The Kroenke Group (one of Stan’s real estate companies) will manage it. When first marketed, Hollywood Park Land Company spoke of a park to be developed inside of it, which they had called “Champions Park”. Originally stated to recognize the thoroughbreds that raced there, it’s quite evident this park’s true intent was to be Stan’s new NFL stadium.

The most immediate takeaway of this proposal is that it is highly detailed, suited to Stan Kroenke’s ideal considerations, is designed to maximize owner revenues, and has taken many years to put into action. As details emerge from the plans, it’s evident this project meets up with the exact desired elements of what Stan Kroenke’s been seeking in his dream stadium development all along.

Equity Ownership: Stan Kroenke has long maintained that he wants to “own the dirt” of a future stadium development, as opposed to the Edward Jones Dome being publicly owned. And while many Californians are wealthy, its governments aren’t the most robust, and they have refused to contribute to a new stadium with public monies (see: San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders). The partnership between The Kroenke Group and Stockbridge, however, plans to construct the entire development with their own monies. This shouldn’t be too difficult; between Stockbridge and the Kroenke family (Stan and is wife, Ann Walton Kroenke)’s personal wealth, they’ll have $20BB to source their capital. After all, based on personal wealth, Stan Kroenke is the second wealthiest owner of an NFL team (behind Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen).

(Los Angeles: You still better set public monies aside for new construction along the nearby 405, because these plans will compound your traffic even worse, with your Metro light rail system only coming to within a mile of this stadium by 2019)

Rams_small market_big burden

While the trend in mid-size and smaller markets has been for public money to pay for stadiums, MetLife Stadium, home to the NFL Jets and Giants, was 100% privately funded, opening in 2010. The San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium (2014) was also privately funded, though an existing hotel tax provides some support. Kroenke’s happy to go into his pockets for Inglewood, but still expects St. Louis and Missouri to pony up as much of our public money as possible for our city’s counter-proposal.

Secondary Revenues: Besides revenues from football fans attending his new stadium and other franchise-related capital inflows, Stan has maintained that he would seek profit maximization from whatever developments may come for a stadium, including an equity stake in restaurants, retail shopping, parking, and other related entertainment options. Through partnership with Stockbridge, Stan will have equity in their Hollywood Park retail developments and garner his share of the revenues directly. The Hollywood Park project will also include a 6,000 seat concert venue, from which shared revenues can also be assumed. The stadium’s naming rights and likely future as a major concert venue are assumed to also be a split-revenue source for both firms.

We can also expect a new team branding campaign to come shortly after a move, with rumors pointing to uniforms returning to being mostly yellow. This change in branding will be to both promote revenues from new sales and to sever ties to the Rams’ last two decades in St. Louis.

Design: Stan has long maintained his affinity for the design of Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, which was built by architecture firm HKS. Stan chose this firm for schematics when he took the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to arbitration for a $700MM+ retrofit of the Edward Jones Dome, for which the arbitrators found in favor of the Rams and which the CVC didn’t have the monies to build. Stan has again utilized HKS for design of his new Inglewood stadium, planning his own version of Lucas Oil Stadium. This continues HKS’ work with NFL teams the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys.

Not surprisingly, Stan decided to not work with St. Louis-based architecture firm Hellmuth Obata + Kassabaum’s HOK Sports division for this prep work.

Super Bowl Host: Stan’s big dream has been to host a Super Bowl, to hold his head up there with the other major NFL owners and tout his team’s facilities to the world. This is all ego, no doubt. With the favorable winter climate of Southern California, Stan will want to bid Super Bowls as quickly as possible.

So far, he has committed to building this new Inglewood stadium but hasn’t made any public statements that the Rams will be relocating. His people have even alluded to the idea that he could own it while another team moves into it. But, why commit to build your ideal of a stadium if you don’t intend to move your team into it, right when you’re actively seeking a new stadium already?

rams dome{this $700M+ Rams’ counterproposal in St. Louis was rejected by local leaders}

Let there be no doubt: While the Rams organization has been talking publicly about their long-term plans in St. Louis for all these years, Silent Stan has been putting together a California Dream Home for our team the entire time. Yet, relocation to Los Angeles is only one possible future for the Rams.  There are many steps to go in the NFL rule book before any potential move takes place.

First off, NFL franchises are required to exhaust all reasonable efforts to remain located in their home city before they can even attempt to file for relocation. So far, the only nixed idea has been the arbitrated retrofit of the Edward Jones Dome. This Friday, the Peacock-Blitz commission will present their recommendations for a future Rams home in St. Louis to Governor Nixon. Mayor Slay’s office apparently has some knowledge of the details.

The most well-known element of the impending proposal is that it will be along the North Riverfront: south of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, east of Broadway, and north of the Lumiere Casino. On a site filled with mostly empty warehouses in various states of decay, we can anticipate a plan that would effectively extend the Laclede’s Landing entertainment district north. This will provide an entertainment environment with plenty of opportunities for parking, retail shopping & dining, and ancillary events like concerts, all self-supportive even when no games are being played. Having the new Rams stadium come into an extended, Lacelede’s Landing would be an economic shot in the arm.

The commission’s recommendations will be the first of potentially multiple options for future stadium options in St. Louis. Until all these reasonable plans have been exhausted, the rules state the Rams must continue to play in St. Louis. The NFL has already stated that no team will play in Los Angeles in 2015. And, by the end of this month, the Rams are expected to announce they will renew their lease on a year-to-year basis as predicated by their existing contract with the CVC. These are the NFL’s rules. We know that David Peacock has presented preliminary proposal details to the NFL’s owners, the NFL Commissioner’s Office, and likely the Rams (although the Rams have been, surprise, silent about this).

As well, plans for a new St. Louis stadium have also been presented to the Commissioner of Major League Soccer as a potential site for a new franchise. MLS has long sought to award a franchise to St. Louis, and at least three distinct ownership groups have been actively courted by MLS to bring professional soccer to the Gateway City. The most well-known candidate owner was the Cooper proposal for a stadium in Collinsville which fell apart in 2008. But, there are others (there’s also Stan Kroenke himself, who owns two pro soccer teams already).

The biggest hold-up this whole time has been that St. Louis hasn’t had a MLS-quality venue for soccer; with this new Rams stadium being built, it could very much serve double-duty for both pro football and pro soccer. And it seems MLS is very much part of the conversation. So far, this is likely the best chance for an MLS franchise to come to St. Louis.

More proposals may follow. Absolutely, there are more places in St. Louis, including Downtown, which can house a new modern football stadium. We must also remember that San Diego’s been working to find a “reasonable” new stadium plan for fourteen years. If we all play by the rules, we’ll have some time.

Rams NFL stadium site - Inglewood, CA{site plan released for

And of course, the Inglewood proposal could turn out to be mostly leverage for negotiations in St. Louis to offer him best terms on a new Rams stadium. Inglewood must be taken seriously, but we must also take ourselves seriously.

Still, say Stan doesn’t like these options, and he decides to apply early for relocation. He would still need an overwhelming majority of the other NFL owners to vote in favor of a Rams relocation, needing a 75% majority vote. That means only nine teams would have to counter a Rams move to LA. And he very well may not have those votes right now.

I can think of a few teams off the top of my head that would vote No, including teams that could be at risk from a Rams relocation to LA (the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders, the Jacksonville Jaguars, even the Carolina Panthers come 2020), other mid-tier Midwest teams that may be threatened by how St. Louis is being treated (the Cincinnati Bengals, the Indianapolis Colts, the Kansas City Chiefs), teams that have recently undergone threats of relocation to Los Angeles unless they “kiss the commissioner’s ring” (the Buffalo Bills, the Minnesota Vikings), and cities who’ve experienced the pains of unfounded relocation by compromised owners (the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns).

There are also the other owners who may not like what Stan’s been doing in Inglewood, trying to capitalize on the LA market singlehandedly. For years, the NFL has maintained that LA is a potential market owned by the League itself, not a place where an individual owner can just up and run. If Stan pushes too hard to get into So Cal, the other owners could push back. Who knows, there may even be owners who just don’t like Stan and would vote to see him fail.

Word is that San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos is already putting together enough votes to block any potential move by the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles.

Even still, the biggest risk is that Stan could just try to move the team anyway. The Baltimore Colts were moved “overnight” to Indianapolis. The Cleveland Browns were taken from that city (although they were allowed to keep the team name for a later franchise release). Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders set anti-trust precedent that can allow a team to relocate without League approval; this allowed the Raiders to relocate to Los Angeles in the early 1980s (before moving back to Oakland in 1995 because of poor attendance and Inglewood denying their attempt to build a new stadium at Hollywood Park).

Last night came reports from sports website Bleacher Report that Stan Kroenke has twice stated to Inglewood Mayor James Butts that he will move the Rams to Inglewood “no matter what”, that he will move the team regardless of whether or not the League approves. Now, this is not Gospel, the aggressiveness of such action is abnormal & unlikely, and things can of course change. But, Stan apparently last stated these words to Mayor Butts to move the team on his own this past Saturday afternoon.

Should this happen, should Stan go rogue and try to run his franchise independent of the NFL, the League has rules to compel franchise owner compliance with the NFL’s standards of conduct. This could include flat-out not scheduling any games for the Rams in 2015 or even pushing for an ownership change. However, this is when the precedent from the Raiders decision could sway to favor Kroenke.

At minimum, going rogue and moving the team without League approval would levy a number of heavy costs upon himself and the team. First, there’ll be the standard fees & costs for relocating the team, which are estimated at around $200MM. Then, there’s the missed opportunity of the NFL’s G-4 Program, a forgivable loan that the League offers to teams to build new stadiums if they stay in their team’s current city; this could be an opportunity cost of around $250MM. Meanwhile, Stan would have to craft a lease agreement with another facility, like the Rose Bowl, while his Inglewood stadium gets built; such a lease would likely cost him $100M+/year for probably three years. Finally, there would be the punitive fines the League can levy against Stan Kroenke.

Rams NFL stadium site - Inglewood, CA{initial rendering of Kroenke’s California dream}

For trying to grab the LA market on his own, the NFL owners could easily implement fees of $800MM-$1BB+ against Stan and the Rams. Conservatively, that’s around $1.5BB in fees alone that it could cost Stan to move the Rams on his own from St. Louis to Inglewood. Then, he has to add-in the costs of the new stadium itself as well as the ancillary developments. It’s reasonably imaginable that, if the NFL plays by its own rules, a total Rams relocation could cost Stan Kroenke around $3BB. The Rams may increase in value by relocating to the LA market, but Stan will likely recognize an equal decrease in his net wealth.

Of course, that’s if the NFL owners play by their own rules and don’t bend them for Stan Kroenke’s benefit. The League bent them before so Stan could grab full Rams ownership at the very last minute from Shahid Khan’s then-winning bid to buy the Rams in 2010. Should Stan’s Inglewood deal be profitable enough to the League as a whole, well, who knows what they’d allow, rules be damned.

At this moment, there are way too many variables to really know what will come next. But, we know what’s going on today: a power play where a billionaire will try to extort as much money as he can out of the City of St. Louis & the State of Missouri under threat of taking the team to Los Angeles, the same billionaire whose 40% ownership at the time helped bring the Rams from Los Angeles to St. Louis in the first place. And it’s either we pay to keep the team here, or he’ll use his own money to take them away. And, we know whatever happens will be a matter of business only, with no real consideration to Rams fans in either St. Louis or Los Angeles.

The NFL really needs to step in soon and make a statement about the Inglewood proposal, because the present actions of “Silent Stan” are certainly not in the best interest of the League or its fans.

Just how silent Stan has been is reflected in his last major interview with the St. Louis press: April 2010, right after he bid to acquire full ownership of the Rams. Yes, his first interview to the St. Louis press as potential majority owner of the team was also his last. Clearly, he has a long way to go before he can consider his St. Louis options “exhausted.”

In that article, Stan pledged:

I’m going to attempt to do everything that I can to keep the Rams in St. Louis. Just as I did everything that I could to bring the team to St. Louis in 1995. I believe my actions speak for themselves… There’s a track record. I’ve always stepped up for pro football in St. Louis. And I’m stepping up one more time.

What a load. Here we are, almost four years later, under very real threat by Stan’s broken word.

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  • felipe

    The Inglewood Rams enuff said

  • kjohnson04

    You don’t revitalize Downtown by making the northside of it a massive parking lot. Why do we hate density so much here?

    The counter proposal is a pipe dream that the Rams are not worthy of. The Rams could easily get what they wanted if the team had consistently won. They haven’t. Ergo, no stadium. They can make do with what they have or they are free to move to Kronke’s LA (Inglewood) eyesore.

    It’s simply not worth the effort.

  • kjohnson04

    You don’t revitalize Downtown by making the northside of it a massive parking lot. Why do we hate density so much here?

    The counter proposal is a pipe dream that the Rams are not worthy of. The Rams could easily get what they wanted if the team had consistently won. They haven’t. Ergo, no stadium. They can make do with what they have or they are free to move to Kronke’s LA (Inglewood) eyesore.

    It’s simply not worth the effort.

  • Mike C

    Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA utilized at least $100 million in direct public funds plus bank loans financed by a public Sports Authority. That pie chart has some gaps.

  • jhoff1257

    Here you go!

  • jhoff1257

    Here you go!

  • John R

    This site plan on the riverfront pretty much guarantees it won’t happen anytime soon.

  • John R

    This site plan on the riverfront pretty much guarantees it won’t happen anytime soon.

  • Mike F

    Just saw the renderings of the new stadium, and I am pivoting between seething anger and guffaws. “A revitalization of downtown”. He’s not joking about that, and that’s what makes it both infuriating and hilarious. Yes, revitalization through a sea of 10000 parking spaces. By god, these clowns are stoopider and more craven than I imagined possible.

    The Rams can’t leave town soon enough for me. Matter of fact, in light of the absolutely blinkered reasoning behind this scheme, it is IMPERATIVE that they be shown the door, post haste.

    • John R

      They even took the Stamping Lofts/FarmWorks!

    • John R

      They even took the Stamping Lofts/FarmWorks!

  • Mike F

    Just saw the renderings of the new stadium, and I am pivoting between seething anger and guffaws. “A revitalization of downtown”. He’s not joking about that, and that’s what makes it both infuriating and hilarious. Yes, revitalization through a sea of 10000 parking spaces. By god, these clowns are stoopider and more craven than I imagined possible.

    The Rams can’t leave town soon enough for me. Matter of fact, in light of the absolutely blinkered reasoning behind this scheme, it is IMPERATIVE that they be shown the door, post haste.

  • btownmoon

    Would a new stadium in that north of Biddle St. location reduce the chances of shutting down I-70 through downtown?

    FWIW The pie chart for Indianapolis should likely be all blue representing 100% publicly funded. The private funding for the new Lucas Oil stadium was actually $ that the Colts were guaranteed to receive through the lease on the old stadium (the RCA Dome). The Colts agreed to give up these dollars in exchange for more money through the Lucas Oil lease. The Colts spun this as their contribution.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Correct. It’s similar to how the Cardinals are lauded for their privately funded stadium in St. Louis. The city agreed to forgo ~$350M (the cost of the stadium) in ticket tax revenue. That’s the private contribution.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Correct. It’s similar to how the Cardinals are lauded for their privately funded stadium in St. Louis. The city agreed to forgo ~$350M (the cost of the stadium) in ticket tax revenue. That’s the private contribution.

  • btownmoon

    Would a new stadium in that north of Biddle St. location reduce the chances of shutting down I-70 through downtown?

    FWIW The pie chart for Indianapolis should likely be all blue representing 100% publicly funded. The private funding for the new Lucas Oil stadium was actually $ that the Colts were guaranteed to receive through the lease on the old stadium (the RCA Dome). The Colts agreed to give up these dollars in exchange for more money through the Lucas Oil lease. The Colts spun this as their contribution.

  • I know Schlafly has been talking with Paul McKee for awhile about moving up there – I bet they would be pretty excited to get their 80-100 acre plan involved with all of this development.

  • matimal

    What does MLS or MSL stand for?

    • jhoff1257

      Major League Soccer.

  • Brown Sugar

    I for one would love to see a stadium redevelopment on the North Riverfront. This would be the best shot to revitalize this area but is their anyway we can do this as a soccer specific stadium if the Rams move anyway?

    • John R

      Nice. With the smaller footprint of a soccer stadium you could put it down there with much less infrastructure costs (like re-working the rail line) and you’d only have to take minimal structures. Seems like with the NFL out of the picture the prospects for an MLS franchise would be much greater as well (and Blues would benefit, too) as fan and corporate $$ would be opened up to support it.

      • tperen

        St. Louis having or not having a NFL team has little to do with MSL in my opinion. St. Louis doesn’t have an MSL team because an owner/or owners group that can afford the +$50 to $100 million franchise let alone develop a stadium has not step up to the plate. If anything, I would be beg to differ that the best chance for St. Louis to have a shot at MLS is an open air NFL stadium with a new RAMS owner or NFL expansion team in its place. Stan K already owns an English club as well as Denver’s MLS team and shown no interesting in supporting as such in St. Louis from the little that is said out of his RAMS organization.
        .
        You look at Miami, Atlanta and Twin Cities when it comes to MLS expansion and they all have solid owner groups/money men behind them. The only stumbling block might be Miami where it has to do more with real estate boom/prices going sky high to a point that MLS team won’t generate the revenues or have the value to make the economics work for a prime location that was being pursued unless the city literally buys the land, builds and gives the team a stadium. I really think MLS would entertain a St. Louis team and put Miami on hold if they know a stadium deal is done and an owner can materialize in 2015.
        .

        • John R

          I agree the best opportunity for MLS is if we had a combined stadium but don’t underestimate how much corporate $$ etc. the Rams crowd out from others right now; it would be very difficult for MLS to compete with three professional teams as we have now and that very well could be why we haven’t seen serious ownership interest; having Rams leave would open up more financial opportunities for a MLS franchise.

    • Daniel

      “The best shot to revitalize this area”? How exactly? The current stadium is very close of some of the worst neighborhoods to the city, and its broader surroundings have actively deteriorated since it was built. The idea that you can just build a big building to fix a massive problem is naive.

      • Brown Sugar

        To clarify, I believe that the industrial area that is being targeted for the new stadium would otherwise not be redeveloped. I know “silver bullet” projects catch heat on this site but it’s pretty clear that their isn’t and probably won’t be any demand for development in the near future, unless StL miraculously gains 100K in population, and let’s be honest, that isn’t going to happen…unless Chicago is invaded by Canada and people flee south. If their was demand McKee would’ve started his project years ago.

        • jhoff1257

          If you can tie a new stadium development into Lumiere Place and Laclede’s Landing you might have some success. I-70 (or 44) does the current Dome no favors and the highway’s removal would do wonders for connecting the Dome to more lively areas. South and West of the Stadium aren’t horrible and are starting to see some development as well. I think the North end has issues, one being the stigma of the North Side and two, immediately north of the Dome are huge amounts of low income public housing.

        • John R

          I disagree that there won’t be redevelopment in the area in the foreseeable future absent a stadium… Bissinger’s just opened up their cool new digs while the Stamping Lofts rehab that is part of the growing FarmWorks project opened just a year or so ago. Bissinger’s is expecting others to follow and I agree. GRG is also targeting the area and it is not hard to imagine a couple more warehouses will get creative re-uses in the next few years, including residential.

          About a year ago one would have thought it crazy that the city’s neatest and newest event space would be in an old warehouse on Mullanphy and we’re just beginning to tap the potential of the area. So to me the question is whether a stadium or other large project enhances these opportunities and helps craft a unique district or essentially destroys these diamonds in the rough.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Destroys.

          • John R

            Obliterates!

          • John R

            Obliterates!

          • Alex Ihnen

            Destroys.

    • tbatts666

      I think before we go chasing really large projects to revitalize the city, we should be advocating for smaller smart urbanism solutions first.

      Like rolling back free parking requirements,
      discouraging euclidean zoning,
      cutting back our stroads,
      replacing the fast moving one way streets downtown to slower continuous moving two way streets
      improving pedestrian, bike, public transit infrastructure

      It makes sense to me that really big projects can fail disastrously, where small tactical things can go a long way to improving STL.

  • Daniel

    Football, with it’s five home games a year or whatever, does not generate money for the city. Baseball, with 10 times that, does. Football is also the lamest sport on earth, played by grunting neanderthals who seem to enjoy gesticulating like mental patients after every brief period of slamming together what little brain matter they have (always punctuated by minutes of complete inactivity). LA is the perfect lame city for a lame team of a lame sport.

    • Mike F

      Also, a sport with only fifteen minutes or so of actual ball-in-play action. Snore.

      Good riddance to bad rubbish, as my wife’s and my parent’s generation would say. Piss off, Stan Kroenke, you’re just another wealthy tool with an extortionist’s mindset, and the self-entitled arrogance to believe that the City and the state will roll over and present their bellies to you (which they likely will, sadly, because, oh, I don’t know, Football!, “civic pride”…and ‘MERKA!). Truly, what these wealthy a**es and corporate parasites do vis-a-vis ginning up money from the public coffers should be condemned–soundly, repeatedly, and loudly. Anyone who advocates for giving even one penny, pfennig, centime, kopek, or pence to these disrespectful, cretinous vermin should be locked in stocks in the public square and pelted with rotten tomatoes and cabbages. (Seriously, have you ever smelled a rotten cabbage? As close to the stench of fleshly decay as you can get. Even that, however, would be too good for Stan Kroenke and his like).

    • Mike

      10 home games a year and about 750,000 tickets sold

      • Daniel

        Yep, and in net terms that’s a big economic loss compared to what it has cost and continues to cost the city. There’s plenty of research out there showing that pro sports teams do little to bolster city economies, and football teams are the least helpful because the small number of games. For example: http://news.illinois.edu/news/04/1117stadiums.html

        • Mike

          In this case, rams playing a new stadium would open up the Dome for other events year round instead of just 4 months….due to the timing of when the NFL schedule comes out and with a possibility the Rams playing on a Monday, Thursday or a Sunday any given week…the CVC cannot schedule events ahead of time at the Dome…with no football games there, there will be a big economic benefit.

          • moorlander

            This is true. The convention center will never meet it’s true potential while an NFL team calls the dome home.

          • Mike F

            If Mr. Kroenke would pay for a new stadium himself–100%, no ifs, no ands, no buts, no funny clauses, no dishonest manipulation of contracts, ironclad-he-pays-for-it–then by all means, build it, and let the dome go full-on convention priority. Otherwise, as has been noted, every study indicates that public monies for these types of projects are ill-spent, with little ROI for the citizenry.

  • tpekren

    OK, my wishful thought for St Louis. Stan K’s end game is an LA expansion team with the thought in mind is that Stan K wants the NFL brand not necessarily RAMS brand as the basis of a larger play on property. First though he needs a reasonable doable St. Louis stadium plan that includes public funding and his Inglewood announcement was a huge play. It doesn’t matter what scheme Gov Nixon and Peacock come up with as long as NFL is convinced they added another new stadium in an existing market. Second, he needs a viable local St. Louis ownership. My wishful part, Announcement by end of year for Taylor family of Enterprise taking majority share say 60% with the founder of World Wide Technology as a minority partner. Why does my wishful part include WWT connection? because I believe the founder/president is an ex semi pro soccer player that gives St. Louis a viable path to a MLS team.
    .
    Why would Stan K sell Rams? First, it is a revenue source with added value if a St Louis stadium deal is in hand. The other owners can pretty much make it a pricey move so why not keep Rams in St. Louis and be able to pay off the owners in part with the sale (New owners buy in fee pays for Stan K’s franchise fee). Stan K is rich and pretty sure intends to stay that way. The Inglewood proposal is a big time money drain/bet for even the rich families involved. Second, Rams in the LA market is already a damaged brand. Why not start a clean state while at the same time being in a position to build a stadium that is home to two teams like meadowlands that spreads risk via lease terms with second team, lets Raider or Charger owners take the chance on their brands, and increase revenue on twice the number of games. Which goes to my earlier thoughts, the only brand that can sell a 80,000 seat private stadium is NFL. NASCAR at one point but that is long gone.
    .
    At the same time, NFL might see a plus side of two new stadiums and gain in market without sacrificing another market even though it is smaller. Finally, awarding a new franchise and getting stadium built by 2018 might give the NFL an avenue as well as time to add a second expansion team and venue in San Antonio (depending on how things shake out with Raiders and Chargers).

  • jhoff1257

    I’ve seen the rendering of the stadium proposal due out in a few days. It’s not bad. The stadium would be built right up to the water just north of Biddle as to preserve the Ashley Street Power Plant. Outside of a few old warehouses, the area north of Biddle has the largest collection of surface parking and grass lots. We’d almost certainly lose the Cotton Belt Depot and most likely the charming stretch of commercial buildings along Broadway between Dickson and Cass. I can’t see anything happening south of Biddle as you have the elevated rail viaduct landing and Lumiere Place. And I can’t see it extending north of Mullanphy as Bissingers just opened a brand new facility and the City’s medium security jail sits there as well.

    Looking forward to seeing what happens. Also looking forward to see what they plan to do with the 1st Street railroad which is very much an active rail line.

    • Adam

      i’d rather keep the old warehouses and the charming commercial buildings. i’m pretty tired of sports dominating everything in this city, and entire districts being razed for these massive complexes and their oceans of parking. when is this sh*t going to stop? are we going to publicly finance a new stadium every twenty years and rip up another part of the city? god damn it. those warehouses are some of the last vestiges of this city’s river history. i realize they’re not in the best shape right now, but look at what Richmond, VA did with their old, riverfront tobacco warehouses. i went and walked around the arch grounds today; i’m sorry but despite the arch our riverfront is really pathetic. so yeah, lets tear it all up for another f*cking stadium. ugh… sorry, not ranting at you. just ranting.

      • jhoff1257

        I’m not advocating for or against demolition. I’d prefer the older buildings stay (especially the ones along Broadway) and become part of the development. I’d add that this is hardly razing an “entire district.” Outside of the little stretch on Broadway I only count maybe 6-8 buildings worthy of saving in the immediate vicinity of where I think the stadium would go. Everything else is either parking or empty. And by the way, I’m just speaking to what I’ve seen so far. Like I said in another reply; I’ve only seen one rendering. Things could and most likely will change. Once plans are made public city officials and other stakeholders will start refining and making changes. What I’ve stated is hardly set in stone and I think we’d all be better off to wait and see the entire proposal before we get angry lol.

        Governor Nixon has stated they are not seeking public financing. We’ll see how that holds up as I think the public will be asked to provide something, what that is remains to be seen. I do agree that our riverfront is rather pathetic, but if you only walked the Arch Grounds your comment is a bit misleading. The grounds have been ripped apart for the CAR project and the stadium is planned well north of the current grounds. I think the CAR project will help tremendously but outside of the Arch Grounds our riverfront is and always has been industrial. I wouldn’t expect much change there, unless of course the barge industry suddenly picks up and leaves.

        • Adam

          sure, i realize the plans you saw are preliminary, but based on the city’s track record i’ve no hope that any effort will be made to save those 6-8 buildings. and you’re right, in this case it’s not a district being razed. but in the case of Busch 2 it was, and in the case of the convention center/TWA dome it was.

          as for the arch grounds, i’m sure it’ll be somewhat improved after the dust settles (i’m not sure i would go as far as “tremendously” but let’s hope). but look north, south, east or, frankly, west of the arch grounds and the view is less than inspiring. that the riverfront has been primarily industrial since the city’s settlement makes it even more important, in my mind, that those sites that ARE available for development be developed in an urban, mixed-use manner. if we stick a football stadium and a bunch of parking there it might as well remain industrial. then we’ll have a giant dead zone where the current dome stands, and another giant dead zone within eyeshot.

          anyway, again, i’m not suggesting that you’re advocating for demo or anything. and definitely not directing my concerns at you. just voicing my concern in general.

        • Adam

          sure, i realize the plans you saw are preliminary, but based on the city’s track record i’ve no hope that any effort will be made to save those 6-8 buildings. and you’re right, in this case it’s not a district being razed. but in the case of Busch 2 it was, and in the case of the convention center/TWA dome it was.

          as for the arch grounds, i’m sure it’ll be somewhat improved after the dust settles (i’m not sure i would go as far as “tremendously” but let’s hope). but look north, south, east or, frankly, west of the arch grounds and the view is less than inspiring. that the riverfront has been primarily industrial since the city’s settlement makes it even more important, in my mind, that those sites that ARE available for development be developed in an urban, mixed-use manner. if we stick a football stadium and a bunch of parking there it might as well remain industrial. then we’ll have a giant dead zone where the current dome stands, and another giant dead zone within eyeshot.

          anyway, again, i’m not suggesting that you’re advocating for demo or anything. and definitely not directing my concerns at you. just voicing my concern in general.

          • jhoff1257

            The more I look at satellite photos of the area it could work. If the project starts north of O’Fallon and remains south of Mullanphy you could save nearly all the old warehouses, the ancillary buildings at the Ashley Plant and the row of buildings on Broadway. The most significant building that we would lose is the Cotton Belt. That’s a shame, but if we end up keeping the team and want them to stay Downtown, it’s by far and away our best shot. I’d be happy to sacrifice the Cotton Belt if it meant saving the Broadway row and the warehouses surrounding the Ashley Plant.

            And when I said tremendously I was speaking to the actual waterfront. The grounds won’t change much and that’s only because of the National Park Service’s demand that the grounds remain pastoral. I think the LKS Drive improvements will be tremendous and would go a long way to sprucing up what was essentially a brick and concrete parking lot. If we can extend the design of LKS up to the stadium development (and maybe all the way up to the Branch Street Trestle) we’d have something pretty great.

            And for what it’s worth, both the City and State have stated they will not accept a “stadium only” plan. All parties involved have stated their desire for a larger mixed use plan that will bring some life back to that area. So at this point we can’t fault them on that.

            That being said this is St. Louis (and Missouri) so we’ll have to see if that holds true. As the saying goes…Show Me.

          • Adam

            I can get behind all this. I would be okay with the loss of the Cotton Belt as well if the others could be saved and incorporated into a mixed use plan.

            Do you know if parking will still be allowed on the cobblestones after the improvements are finished? I would think definitely “no” but somebody over on urbanstl claimed “yes”.

        • This gives me renewed hope for my old Riverfront tourist trolley idea: http://yastlblog.com/2011/04/27/clang-clang-clang-goes-the-trolley/

          Stops at a North Riverfront stadium area, Bissingers, an activated trailhead power plant concept and park, the Archgrounds, and a reinvigorated Chouteau’s Landing district…I want it all!

      • Daniel S. Leritz

        Am hopeful that whatever is announced could incorporate the existing structures into the larger proposal. Not based on any inside information, but it’s quite possible that some of those buildings could be redeveloped to house ancillary businesses like restaurants and team retail, furthering the regional uniqueness and broad marketability of the development. Think of the warehouse space behind Camden Yards in Baltimore…

        • Adam

          they definitely *could* be incorporated, i guess i’m just skeptical that they *would* be given our poor track record when it comes to developments of this scale, e.g. Busch 2, the convention center/TWA dome, the casino, the arch grounds (back in the 40s), etc. our civic and business leaders love to raze first and ask questions later.

          • Adam

            i’ll add that our local leaders have been known to cave to developers’ demands, and Kroenke is as big as they come. not to mention that many Rams fans likely could not care less about these old buildings, nor the life-sucking effect that yet another frequently empty giant dome will have on downtown, so long as they get to keep their football.

    • John R

      You really have left me confused as to the site plan…. the Ashley power plant starts just north of Biddle so the stadium couldn’t go right up to the river there and keep the power plant. Did you mean that the stadium would start just north of the power plant? Of course just north of the plant is the building Trailnet once had its eye one as a riverfront trail amenity. It would be bad to lose that as well, and besides the potentially adaptive re-use Cotton Belt there are also existing quality assets like the William Kerr Foundation and Stamping Lofts building and urban farm that apparently would have to go if it is along the riverfront.

      Like you, I’m also curious how they plan to re-work the active rail line adjacent that is adjacent to First St. in that area. If they are going to mess with the rail, I’d love to see them somehow get rid of the elevated line and build just north of Lumiere in the sector bounded by Carr on the south, Sullivan/Lewis on the east. Ashley on the north and Collins on the west. This would require minimal building demo (the Sligo steel building was already just demoed for more casino parking) with the only thing of merit the small Al’s Steakhouse building and allow the warehouses to serve as a very cool “village” component of the plan,

      • jhoff1257

        Yes it would be north of the Ashley Power Plant. Sorry for the confusing wording, I mainly meant the area that I think they will really be focusing on is north of Biddle (or Ashley, if you prefer) and south of Mullanphy. I would love to see the old buildings remain as well, but if we want any potential stadium to stay downtown, this area is probably our best shot. Unless we demo the dome and build there, but I don’t think that’s even on the table.

        I should also add that I’ve only seen one rendering, it very well may have changed since then. Plus, once this plan is made public, officials and other stakeholders will start to refine it and make changes. We’ll just have to see what happens. We’re still very early in this process.

        • John R

          Thanks…. actually looking at this a bit more if one were willing to sacrifice the Cotton Belt building this could be an ideal location…. you could fit the stadium footprint itself no problem from the flood wall to 2nd and Dickson to Florida and take only one or two modest structures (although it might impact the food hub project) or between O’Fallon & Cass and take one working warehouse. It also would be interesting if more of a riverfront promenade between the new Central Riverfront Trail currently under construction and the Stadium could be part of the project, perhaps with fill bringing the elevation to the floodwall height .

          • Mike

            this wont be just a stadium development…add 30.000-40000 parking spots…the entire 70-80 acres down there will be needed

          • John R

            There’s still be plenty of room for surface lots for tailgating and a garage or two…. the area is mostly surface lot to begin with and would provide about as much as any other urban stadium. But keeping the bulk of warehouses that remain would allow for a really cool district. Clearing it all out wouldn’t be worth it and more of a case of killing the patient to cure it.

    • Max

      Just curious, does the rendering you saw show an outdoor stadium? That’s what everyone has been assuming, but we haven’t heard anything for sure.

  • Alex Devlin

    I honestly believe this is a blessing in disguise. If we can stick to smart financing and community minded development (I think Peacock takes both very seriously) St. Louis could be FAR better off in 5 years. Imagine travelers coming across the shiny Stan Span only to be greeted by an impressive modern stadium that on top reads, The St. Louis _______.

    My dream scenario (fingers crossed):
    1. Peacock and Blitz announce an impressive plan for a new stadium as well as everything east of Broadway, north of Eads, and south of Musial. INCLUDING some form of public transit extending from Eads metro station, north to the new stadium. (Not likely but I can dream.)
    2. Somehow Stan moves the team.
    3.Impressed by the plan the NFL, promises a portion of stadium funding and relocation of the Raiders, creating a very profitable rivalry with KC.
    4. Shortly after, MLS makes similar promise of funding and creation of team.
    5. Drury now feels confident enough to increase size of proposed hotel in lacledes.
    6. New season in a new stadium kicks off in 2019.
    7.Edward Jones becomes hugely successful at conferences and college sports.

    • jhoff1257

      Couple of things here.

      You have to start north of Carr Street, as south of that is Lumiere Place and Laclede’s Landing which are not being considered as part of the development area. There is no need for public transit (unless you’re lazy) as the Arch-Laclede station is at most 5-6 blocks away from the proposed site. You’d also have to stop at Mullanphy as Bissingers just opened a brand new mfg. facility at Mullanphy and Broadway. And the City’s medium security “work house” sits just east of Bissingers.

      I think most in St. Louis would prefer to see the Rams stay then move them and ship a California team back. It should be noted that the Radiers are targeted for LA as a second team. Similar to NYC having both an NFC and AFC team.

      Outside of that I do agree about the MLS and I think regardless of what happens with the Rams Drury will build on Laclede’s Landing.

      • Was going to mention the work house — can’t imagine the City will be too eager to have that sitting just north of a new stadium. I could see that and the nearby grainery being demo’d for parking and relocated elsewhere in the City.

        I figure O’Fallon to Mullanphy, river to the interstate (or, possibly preferably, Collins), plus the grounds of the work house and grainery would create more than enough space for a stadium, parking and amenities while still preserving many of the Near North Riverfront’s assets — Bissinger’s, William Kerr, the power station(s) and some Broadway buildings.

        As someone else mentioned though, the biggest issue would be the TRRA rail line, which carries both industrial and passenger traffic. Can’t dig down under a stadium and I’m hard-pressed to see an alternative route to connect with the central train yards.

        I’m still putting this in the “no way it happens” folder, but — barring some major issues — including a team to play there! — I’m starting to dig the idea.

        • jhoff1257

          You could bury the rail line. Cut and cover it under First Street and build the stadium on top. It wouldn’t be cheap and getting the political support, money, and the OK from the railroad will be nearly impossible, but it could be done. There are commuter train stations under Target Field in Minneapolis and under the TD Arena in Boston. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You’re also exactly right about starting north of O’Fallon. That would preserve nearly all of the buildings worth saving. We’d have to lose the Cotton Belt and maybe a few uninspiring 1 story warehouses but I think it would be worth it in the long run.

          • My understanding is that there’s a safety/security issue with putting active freight lines underneath a building which hosts that many people. As well as an insurance issue for a building of that size/cost.

            Commuter rail is one thing, but when you consider that some of the freight materials coming through on train cars is highly combustible/toxic the issue becomes a lot more complex.The modern fear is some sort of terrorist attack that utilizes either the tunnel(s), the trains or the materials being transported.

            As you said, where there’s a will there’s a way, but the trackage situation stands out to me as the most difficult.

          • jhoff1257

            You do make a really good point about the safety/security issue and about the type of cargo they are carrying. But I just can’t see what else they could do with it. They could only go one block west as anymore then that would put it on Broadway. And one block west doesn’t really solve the issue. If they go east they would damn near have to build a brand new elevated viaduct along the river bank which I would think is a bit cost prohibitive. We run freight under the Arch, granted there is rarely 80,000 people down there all at once, but it’s still a significant monument that draws more people per year then a stadium would. I know Baltimore uses a few various tunnels for freight that run under neighborhoods and major streets downtown (think Tucker Blvd. like tunnels). Of course those areas don’t have stadium sized crowds but the risk of an accident or a deliberate attack is still there.

            It’s a great question and you’re right, it’s probably the most significant obstacle to getting this done (outside of actually finding the money to do any of this).

            I guess it kind of falls into the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” category.

          • John R

            Absent tunneling, the best I can come up with is running the line down Lewis; I believe there actually is old track underneath the pavement… may require taking the Kerr building and the vacant warehouse to its south. Running along Lewis should give enough width to place a stadium between Lewis and Collins but it also would likely require more demo than if you could place it closer to the river. I say do everyone a favor and just demo the GPX warehouse in downtown west and put it there.

          • jhoff1257

            True, but the rendering that I saw has the stadium built right up to the water. Damn near on the water. That would eliminate Lewis as a potential new alignment. Of course that could always change though. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, I personally think tunneling is the best option. Especially considering they want to build a larger mixed use development in the area. Wouldn’t make much sense to have an active rail line running at ground level though the center of it.

          • John R

            I really look forward to seeing what they have in mind…. a new floodwall? floating stadium?

        • Brown Sugar

          Just a thought but could they incorporate the line in the stadium plans? Sort of run it along the side? This would be kind of cheeky but I think seeing an active freight roll past in the middle of a game would be kinda cool.

        • Brown Sugar

          Just a thought but could they incorporate the line in the stadium plans? Sort of run it along the side? This would be kind of cheeky but I think seeing an active freight roll past in the middle of a game would be kinda cool.

  • dB

    The idea that Stan wants to “own” his own stadium is just crazy. Jerry Jones paid like 75% of the cost of AT&T stadium yet the city of Arlington owns it. 27 of 32 current NFL stadiums are owned by public entities. Simple reason for that: shifts the liability from owner to the public, all while the lease says the owner has full use and collects all revenue generated by the venue

    • Mike F

      Simply another case of privatizing the profits, and socializing the costs. How nice of our Wealthy Betters.