JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars want to move forward with redeveloping Lot J near TIAA Bank Field. During the State of the Franchise event, the Jaguars' president, Mark Lamping, shared a rendering of the $500 million project.
He said they are prepared and ready to go. In about eight months, Lamping said they’re hoping to take down the Hart Bridge ramps so they can get a better view of Lot J, where they want a hotel, an arena, a residential tower, office space and parking.
“It’s something the time is now, we can’t continue to wait. Do we have commitments right now? No, but we do have a lot of people that are interested,” Lamping said.
Lamping said they have a hotel operator prepared and Cordish companies, the partner on this whole project, would manage the live arena. To go ahead with the project, they first need the green light from the city.
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“I have no doubt that we will reach an agreement,” said Lamping.
Lot J was almost chosen as the new location for the JEA headquarters but West Adams Street was selected instead. Lamping said it would have been easier if they chose Lot J, but he doesn’t call it a setback.
“Is JEA’s decision somehow going to have a significant impact on downtown Jacksonville’s potential development? Absolutely not,” Lamping said.
While progress has been slow moving at times, Lamping and team owner Shad Khan said they are ready to make this project a reality.
“The economic growth, the difference-making, all of that really belongs here,” said Khan.
“The State of the Franchise is always exciting, and today was no exception,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “I look forward to the city being involved in solidifying a development agreement with the Jaguars and their plan for Lot J. This is a very important piece of the puzzle for the continued growth and expansion of our sports and entertainment district, downtown Jacksonville and the overall economy.”
The team is also considering making games easier to watch in the warmer months.
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“We have to make our worst seats a lot better. It’s what we have to do,” said Lamping.
The upper deck seats on the east side of the stadium are miserable at times because they face the sun directly.
Lamping said he’s not pushing for a new stadium, but he said there will need to be improvements.
“The time is now. We can’t continue to wait.” — The Jags say they are ready to move forward with redeveloping Lot J.— Amber Krycka (@AmberANjax) April 18, 2019
Live at 5 with the details. pic.twitter.com/3V7pehlPon
“We’re competing in a league and industry where teams are very focused on growing their local revenue,” he said.
Lamping said since the Jags joined the NFL, there is only one other team that hasn’t seen a major or full stadium renovation or had a new stadium built – the Buffalo Bills. While Lamping said they’ve been talking about it for years, they don’t have a plan yet.
“I think the stadium has to be upgraded. I think that is our approach. Mark Lamping talked about the sun, the experience. I think we would like to have more events here. This is a city-owned stadium. I think it signifies Jacksonville, and so I think it will need work upgrades and we want to work with the city. I think that if you look at all the upgrades that have happened – clubs, scoreboards, pools, Daily’s Place -- we have been a big part of spending money with the city. We want to continue to invest with the city to make the stadium be better,” said Khan.
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