Venue News: St. Louis Unveils Plans to Build New Stadium; Miami Dolphins Chronicle Sun Life Stadium Renovation

St. Louis upped its bid Friday to either keep the Rams or lure a new NFL team, unveiling plans for a new open-air football stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River, not far from the Gateway Arch, writes the Associated Press. The 64,000-seat stadium would cost $860 million to $985 million, with construction beginning in 2016 and ending by 2020. The NFL and the team would be responsible for up to half the cost of the stadium, while some funding would come from tax credits and other public financing, including possibly extending current bonds used to pay off the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams play. But city and state leaders have long said there is no appetite for again tapping taxpayers, which is reflected in the plan that calls for no new taxes or bonds. Seat licensing fees would also help pay for the project…

…Meanwhile, the developers behind a sprawling sports and housing complex in the Los Angeles suburbs – whose centerpiece stadium could become home for an NFL team – expect to recoup up to $100 million in local tax dollars in the first five years of operation, an Associated Press review has found. When the proposal was unveiled last week, Christopher Meany, a senior executive with the joint venture designing and financing the project, emphasized that ”there will be no public dollars, no taxpayer dollars, used for this project.”…
…The Miami Dolphins recently released a series of images chronicling the start of the renovation project to Sun Life Stadium, writes Fox Sports South. Team president and CEO Tom Garfinkel posted some of the images from team photographer Jon Willey on Twitter showing workers taking apart corner end zone seats. Eventually every seat in the stadium will be removed — including the concrete — over the course of the offseason in favor of seats that Garfinkel describes on Twitter as “being closer to the field.” Capacity will be lowered from 76,000 to 65,000 with fewer upper-level seats and more placed in the lower level…

…Elsewhere in Miami, the good news of a South Florida soccer franchise has been watered down as the search for a future stadium site has been very unsuccessful, according to CBS Miami. David Beckham’s business team swooped into Miami a year ago, full of irresistible excitement and lofty ideas, and got politicians to agree to negotiate a location for a new Major League Soccer stadium. Twelve months after that vote, there is still no stadium site. Beckham’s group has stayed largely silent since June, regrouping — and, some supporters fear, reconsidering — after feeling burned by politicians who eagerly proposed potential sites on public land only to quickly back away from them…

…The Carolina Panthers will renovate 158 luxury suites at Bank of America Stadium as part of the team’s five-year plan to refurbish the entire building, writes The Charlotte Observer. Work will begin on the suites this month and continue for the rest of the offseason with an expected completion date of mid-June, Morrison said. A major part of the construction will include adding a window-wall system to the suites that eliminates any barricades. The overhaul will also see new televisions, carpet and countertops added to each suite, Morrison said. He hopes all the suites will be finished and open in time for an international soccer tournament planned for the stadium this summer…

…The Atlanta Hawks are on the market. The team’s owners said Thursday they have unanimously approved a plan to sell all shares. The sale would include operating rights to Philips Arena, the Hawks’ home, writes the Associated Press. The sale “will commence immediately,” and the team is expected to remain in Atlanta.

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