Jones Dome Headed for Demolition?
We’ve talked about the fate of the Edward Jones Dome many times on this blog. When the city was planning a new riverfront stadium to keep the Rams, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) often talked about how having the football team out of the Dome might be a boon for conventions. The football season made scheduling other events at the Dome difficult or impossible during the season. When the Rams left for Los Angeles, talk of the convention center’s future started almost immediately.
But now that future might not include the Dome. It seems that some members of the CVC think the Dome is more of a liability than an asset, and demolishing it may be the best option moving forward.
Readers of this blog will not be surprised at the sudden reversal in attitude toward the now-empty Dome. Just last week, we noted:
In 2015, only nine conventions had more than 10,000 participants (accounting for 80,000 room nights). The CVC often blames the NFL schedule for holding down the number of conventions the city can compete for, but in the six months when no games were held at the Dome, nine large conventions was a far cry from busy.
Some members of the CVC are apparently coming around to our position on the ability of Dome to attract many new conventions. They point out that the Dome is outdated compared to new competition from other regional convention centers in Denver and Nashville. The most poignant criticism was from the president of the CVC, who the Post-Dispatch reports as saying, “The Dome itself is too high—it feels like a stadium, not convention space.”
The idea of demolishing part or the entire Dome may prove politically or financially unfeasible. However, it’s becoming clear that the Dome is not much better at attracting large conventions that it has been at attracting Stan Kroenke. Twenty years after that stadium opened as a stadium/convention center, it is functionally obsolete for both purposes.
When Dome advocates pushed for state funding more than 20 years ago, they told the state legislature that we couldn’t afford not to build the stadium. Now, it seems like we really could have.