Saints And Louisiana Nearing Long-Term Lease Extension Deal
It's being reported late Wednesday night that the state of Louisiana and the New Orleans Saints are actively working towards a new long-term lease deal that would keep the team's home at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome through 2035.
The new deal would include a major renovation that would cost approximately $450 million dollars officials are saying.
This new deal would extend the Saints’ current lease with Louisiana for another 10 years and would feature the most intensive and expensive overhaul of the iconic "Dome" in the 44-year existence.
The go-ahead with the plan for the renovation first came from Governor John Bel Edwards on April 17 when meeting with Louisiana and Saints officials.
Saints and stadium officials have stated that the renovation is more than necessary in order to modernize the outdated Superdome. The renovation will assist in extending the life of the stadium for the Saints and it'll serve as a competitive venue that'll have the potential to host major events for the next 15 to 20 years.
Kyle France, the chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, which oversees Superdome affairs for the state said Wednesday, “We’ve got a good plan here, we’ve done our homework, and we’re going to do this the right way. So far we haven’t had any pushback, and the governor has been an integral part of all this.”
Saints president Dennis Lauscha also chimed in saying, “The building has to be modernized so we can improve the fan experience, this is basically a wash for us financially.”
The current renovation plan would be approximately $1 billion dollars less expensive than the market cost of building an entirely new stadium. Officials have said that that idea had little political or public support across the state of Louisiana. It was said that 80 percent of state residents had a favorable opinion of the Superdome, according to a survey that was conducted by the LSED in January, and 78 percent of the state residents surveyed would favor a renovation project instead of the idea of a new stadium.
As far as renovations and upgrades go, the biggest change would feature re-imagined entry lobbies that would be located at the corners of the stadium along Poydras Street and Champions Square.
Other feature upgrades include:
- Removal of the sideline pedestrian ramps leading fans to the loge, club/suite and terrace levels of the building, and replacing them with additional escalators.
- New east and west sideline club lounges.
- Expanded 300 level luxury box suites.
- New end zone field level box suites.
- Expanded plaza, loge and terrace level concourses.
- New end-zone corner standing-room-only viewing decks.
- Expanded team store, retail outlets and Saints Hall of Fame.
- New visiting team locker room.
If the renovation is approved, the construction would be scheduled to take place in four phases over the next four years that would begin in January 2020 after either the College Football Playoff Championship Game on January 13 or the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 19.
It's being said that majority of the major renovations would occur over the next four offseasons for the Saints. That would cause the stadium to be shut down for most non-football events other than the Essence Fest that occurs annually, the 2020 College Football Playoff Championship Game and the men’s NCAA Final Four occurring in April 2022. Officials are hoping to complete the project before the city of New Orleans is scheduled to host Super Bowl LVIII Feb. 4, 2024.