Their time in St. Louis is over, but their business there is far from done.
As explained by David Hunn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Rams have been sued regarding the team’s apparent right to buy the 27-acre tract that houses the team’s now-vacated practice facility in Earth City.
Under the lease that the Rams signed in 1995, the Rams have the ability to purchase the land for the low, low price of $1 in 2024 — even if they have left the property and even if the property is being leased to someone else. The public board that governs the Edward Jones Dome wants to scrap the lease term and sell the property now; it previously was appraised at $19 million.
“The [Edward Jones Dome Authority] owns the training facility, which is a valuable asset,” attorney Chris Bauman told Hunn. “We have a responsibility to maximize the value of that. And to do that, we need certainty concerning this invalid option.”
The lawsuit is intended to obtain a ruling that the term in the lease should be rejected. The Rams haven’t commented on whether they intend to exercise or waive the option.
As the lawsuit unfolds, the Rams’ intentions will quickly be known. And the Rams have every right, whether folks in St. Louis like it or not, to take advantage of every benefit provided to the team under the terms of the lease that lured the team to town more than 20 years ago.
Sure, owner Stan Kroenke arguably should walk away from the ability to buy the property for just one of his billions of dollars. But Kroenke hasn’t built an empire by walking away from good business deals. This lingering branch of a deal done more than two decades ago allows him to potentially turn a single dollar into $19 million more.