‘We have scored a touchdown:’ $1.4B Stadium of the Future deal approved by council

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Stadium of the Future is one step closer to becoming a reality, with Jacksonville City Council officially approving the deal Tuesday evening.


“By your vote we have scored a touchdown,” said Council President Ron Salem (R-Group 2 At-Large).

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The final vote on the historic $1.4 billion Stadium of the Future deal was received with a standing ovation.

It marked the end of eight months of negotiations and an additional month jampacked with meetings aimed at vetting the now-$831 million commitment from the city for the stadium and downtown parks.

The city is covering $775 million for the stadium itself, which will turn the shiny renderings released last year into reality before the Jags’ 2028 season.

The team is covering $625 million for stadium construction.

The vote was 14 to one.

Councilmember Mike Gay (R-District 2) was the lone detractor, citing concerns about the city’s long-term fiscal health.

RELATED: Jacksonville City Council approves Jaguars ‘Stadium of the Future’ deal

“Cause what we do tonight, will echo in eternity,” said Gay.

There was also disappointment voiced after two council members announced they’d have to abstain from the final vote due to potential conflicts of interest.

Council leadership had expressed the desire to avoid conflicts was one of the driving reasons behind carving out $94 million from the community benefits agreement.

“Feels like our city got a little cheated,” said Councilmember Jimmy Peluso (D-District 7).

Mayor Donna Deegan also expressed disappointment that the full CBA funding didn’t remain intact.

“My goal is to lift every portion of this city and I think that we can do that with this agreement. I think the stadium is a big piece of that, but I think we can do it by completing the rest of that CBA,” said Deegan.

What was initially pitched as a $150 million city investment in the Eastside, parks, homelessness, affordable housing and workforce development was reduced to just a $56 million investment in parks.

RELATED: ‘Monumental for this city:’ Council ready for final vote on Stadium of the Future Tuesday

The Jags are still putting up $118 million under the current community benefits agreement.

Jags President Mark Lamping said the team’s additional $32 million investment will be contingent on the city approving its remaining $94 million share.

“Now we’re going to advocate as hard as we can along with the mayor to make sure that we get that full $300 million,” said Lamping.

Council members will be back in July to address the remaining $94 million.

Salem said the incoming Council President will need to take a close look at what amount the city can afford, given other large projects and expenses are just over the horizon.

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“You can’t do everything as we’re going to find out probably in this debate over the CBA. I outlined several things a week or so ago of my concerns. How are we going to pay for these things? And we’ve got to figure that out before we outlay dollars for other things,” said Salem.

Deegan said she’s committed to trying to secure all of the remaining $94 million city-share in the end.

“That’s how we get matching funds. That’s how we move together to make sure that this is honored for the entirety of the contract and that’s what I’m going to be working with council on,” said Deegan.

The CBA legislation is expected to be filed on July 23rd.

The goal according to city leaders is to have that legislation passed before the next NFL owners meeting on October 13th.

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