ST. LOUIS (AP) Contractors already have submitted roughly $800,000 in bills toward the development of a billion-dollar proposed football stadium in St. Louis, according to a newspaper report.
Two executives with the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority - which owns and operates the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams' current home - have authorized the hiring of or payments to more than a dozen firms involved in crafting plans for a new open-air stadium along the Mississippi River, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1OIoiuk ) reported Thursday.
Members of the St. Louis stadium task force made their case directly to NFL officials in New York last week, hoping to either keep the Rams or attract another team if owner Stan Kroenke moves the franchise to Los Angeles.
The authority's executive director, Brian McMurtry, and board chairman Jim Shrewsbury have signed architects, engineers, surveyors, planners, contract attorneys, tax attorneys and bond attorneys to contracts totaling at least $40 million. Those businesses and individuals already have invoiced for about $800,000, about half of it sought by architectural firm HOK.
Shrewsbury, who has said any spending now could mean the authority may affect its ability to pay off bonds for the Edward Jones Dome, reiterated that concern Wednesday.
''It's not a reckless gamble. But it is a gamble,'' he said, adding that the new-stadium spending is not yet a serious problem. ''There's a difference between maxing out your credit card and mortgaging your house.''
The Rams are year-to-year on their lease for the Edward Jones Dome and could leave as early as 2016, meaning the upcoming NFL season could be their last in St. Louis.
Kroenke is part of a task force planning a new $1.8 billion stadium in suburban Los Angeles. The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have a competing plan to build a stadium in the Los Angeles area. Representatives of those two teams have made their own pitch to the league, related to their $1.7 billion stadium project in Carson, California.
Some believe the league wants two teams in Los Angeles, meaning that St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland are likely competing to keep one franchise.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com