‘Asking for a lease extension now, we would get the answer none of us want’ says Jaguars team President says about the NFL first wanting major renovations at stadium

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jaguars say NFL owners want major renovations at TIAA Bank Field before approving a lease extension.

This comes as the team also has proposed the $450 million Lot J development that could cost taxpayers up to $233 million.

“We have to have a stadium solution,” said Jaguars team president Mark Lamping at a Lot J meeting Tuesday hosted by members of the city council. “Asking for a lease extension now we would get the answer none of us want,” he added.

Some city council members have gone on the record saying they want a lease extension tied to Lot J.

“When Mr. Weaver was here, it seemed like negotiations were more caring about our hometown,” said Matt Carlucci, finance committee chairman.

Action News Jax Ben Becker asked Lamping why not renovate the stadium first and build Lot J later. Lamping answered that such a move would push back the overall timeline by years.

Lamping would not speculate on what would happen if Lot J is not built and the stadium is not renovated.

He also submitted 10 revisions to the Lot J term sheet that the team reached with the city in September.

The council auditor recently said the city would only make 44 cents for every dollar spent on the project, far less than what the city claims.

“There are 32 NFL teams. They are a rare commodity,” said Kristi Sweeney, associate professor of sports finance and economics at the University of North Florida.

The council auditor provided Becker projections of Jacksonville’s debt per capita for the project. According to Sweeney’s interpretation, Lot J will cost each person in Jacksonville almost $200 a year in debt for the next five years, totaling $973.

“You have to be willing to make the investment, and unfortunately, in some regards, it comes with a price tag,” Sweeney said. “We’ve been at this for a long time,” Lamping said. “It needs to get to its natural conclusion, whatever that might be.”

The city council heard public comments on Tuesday and is expected to vote on a final proposal in early January. Thirteen votes are needed to pass.

Sources tell Becker that there are enough votes to approve the project.

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