JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The City of Jacksonville announced on Wednesday that it has reached a deal to develop Lot J near TIAA Bank Field.
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The City will work with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Iguana Development as well as other national partners to develop Lot J.
The changes are expected to include adding a live entertainment center, restaurants and housing, which would all be part of a $450 million project. The city said this would require approval from the Downtown Investment Authority and the City Council.
Jacksonville native James Williams has his doubts about the development.
“Do we have the population, do we have the tourism to support it?” Williams said. “Is it going to be another Landing? That’s the biggest concern I have.”
Wednesday, Action News Jax requested interviews with Curry and Jags’ President Mark Lamping. We were told both were unavailable.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry released the following statement on the development plans:
"As mayor I have been steadfast in my commitment to see every neighborhood and every family part of economic growth and development. While exciting things are happening all over the city, I believe that our downtown is the heart of the city and that we need a vibrant, growing core to help grow the entire community.
"You can't be a suburb of nowhere, and a strong downtown contributes to a stronger community as a whole. Our downtown residential market continues to see robust growth and businesses continue to expand downtown. In addition to this success, another key component to growing the urban core will be to enhance and grow our Sports & Entertainment District.
"I am excited to announce I have reached an agreement for development of the Lot J property next to TIAA Bank Field. This partnership – a group led by the Jaguars leadership, Iguana development and nationally-renowned development partners – will result in more than $450 million of capital investment for the project. The terms will go to the Downtown Investment Authority and the City Council for their consideration, and I am confident they will see the great potential of this agreement.
"The City of Jacksonville, as it often does for downtown development, will be a financial partner through incentives that are tied to infrastructure construction, completion-based grants and tax rebates known as Rev grants. The result will be an amazing array of mixed-use facilities that contribute to a downtown where people can live, work and play!
"This includes a new entertainment venue hosting top-notch dining and live entertainment, a new hotel, new residential building and the opportunity for a new office building. The facilities will be centered around dynamic public spaces and will include an expansion of parking through a blend of surface parking and integrated garages.
"As we look forward, this development and the removal of the elevated expressway, will add to our capacity to develop the downtown's riverfront and will position Jacksonville for world-class events that we simply cannot compete for today.
"Whether it's downtown or any neighborhood from the beaches to the westside, Jacksonville is on the rise and our best days are in front of us. Thank you for letting me share this exciting announcement and for your commitment to keeping our city growing."
Jaguars President Mark Lamping released the following statement:
"We've never been closer to realizing a new Downtown Jacksonville than we are today. While today's news is not the final step, it's by far the most significant step in our mission to reinvent how we work, live and gather in Downtown Jacksonville. Shad has for years been the biggest believer and advocate of what's possible for our downtown, and it's very clear that Mayor Curry shares the same vision. Our joint proposal with The Cordish Companies, one of the top developers in the country, is one that will make an impact on our community that will be positive, overdue and lasting. It cannot happen without Mayor Curry's support and leadership, and we will continue to work with the Mayor and his staff toward an agreement that will signal a new era for downtown and our entire region."
Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies released the following statement:
"We are excited to cross this important milestone with the City of Jacksonville and greatly appreciate the partnership and support of Mayor Curry and his team. The Cordish Companies is honored to partner with the Jaguars and Iguana Investments to deliver a transformative world-class development for Downtown Jacksonville that will shape and propel the renaissance of the City for decades to come."
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Action News Jax has been following the plans for this downtown development for more than a year and a half.
In January 2018, the Jacksonville Jaguars first announced plans to turn Lot J into a "mixed-use entertainment complex."
During its State of the Franchise event in April 2018, Jaguars President Mark Lamping announced a partnership with the Cordish Companies to develop the Lot J area. In a tweet, the Cordish Companies said it would help to bring a "world-class neighborhood for the downtown Sports Complex."
After the State of the Franchise, Jaguars owner Shad Khan talked about the team’s $2.5 billion vision for the area surrounding the stadium, including Lot J and the Shipyards. Khan said at that time that the Lot J development “is an expansion of our previously announced plans for the Shipyards.”
The team also released renderings of what that Lot J and Shipyards development could look like.
During its State of the Franchise event in April 2019, the Jaguars said the effort to redevelop Lot J would total around $500 million. Earlier this year, JEA looked at the possibility of moving its headquarters to Lot J, but instead picked a property on West Adams Street.
Lori Boyer, former City Councilwoman and the CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, told Action News Jax's Jenna Bourne in May that moving the Shipyards and Lot J projects forward will be crucial to the future of downtown development.
In a June interview with Action News Jax's Tenikka Hughes, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry revealed after weeks of meetings with Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan's team, some major news on the future of Lot J could be coming soon.
In about 6 months, Action News Jax learned that the city will begin tearing down the Hart Bridge Ramps to clear the way for development of The Shipyards and the Entertainment Complex at Lot J.
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