Jags unveil $2.5 billion plan for Sports Complex development

Jacksonville, FL — An upgraded marina, exposition space, mixed-use entertainment buildings, and more.

It’s all part of the new redevelopment proposal put forward by the Jacksonville Jaguars, during their annual “State of the Franchise” event. The team estimates the total plan to be a $2.5 billion investment.

Overall, the plan includes a high-end hotel, convention center and hotel, park, and much more. They also envision moving the Veterans Memorial Wall to a more prominent place in a veterans park along the St. Johns River, but that would only happen with the consent and support of the military community and community at large.

To get to that, though, the team says the elevated Hart Bridge ramps need to come down.

"The great redevelopment potential that that will unlock- the ambition and the scope of the development on the banks of the St. Johns River will be significantly greater if those lanes get back to grade,” says Jaguars President Mark Lamping.

Until then, the focus will be specifically Lot J.

The now-parking lot could be the destination for three large mixed-use buildings and a “live arena”. Lamping says the market will dictate what goes in the buildings, but they’re planning for office, hotel, and possibly residential space. Street-level,  there would be retail and shops. To make up for the loss of a parking lot, Lamping says they’re planning to build a roughly 3,000 space parking garage where the retention pond is currently. While there are concerns about the land underneath that, Lamping says they’ve already been doing testing and he’s confident they can work around what they find.

Lamping says this would be a multi-year commitment. He says it would be a public/private partnership, although it’s unclear at this time how much they will ask for from the City. The total investment on the broader plan is believed to be more than $2 billion.

Lamping says this proposal is an expansion of the Shipyards proposal they previously put forward. They won the right to redevelop that property almost exactly a year ago, but the negotiations are still ongoing.

"A really vibrant new neighborhood that contributes not only to the quality of life of Jacksonville, but also contributes to the economic strength of Downtown Jacksonville,” he says.

GALLERY: Shipyards redevelopment proposal

Activating the area around the stadium is not only important for the City, though.

“I think this is absolutely paramount for the Jaguars to be stable in this area. The City has to grow, and we’ve got to have energy around the stadium and in the stadium, especially on game days,” says Jags owner Shad Khan.

And from there, they say things could really boom.

"For a neighborhood like this to be successful and to really transform Downtown, it starts with jobs. So everything we do, we need to focus really hard on bringing jobs to this part of Downtown. And if we're successful in terms of this activity, you would expect it to bleed towards Downtown. And with all the other exciting stuff happening in Downtown, that could bleed towards the Sports Complex, and we'll get close to realizing the full potential that Downtown Jacksonville represents,” Lamping says.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says the idea behind the proposal is “visionary”. He is open to a financial commitment from the City, but says he will put that proposal through his scorecard to ensure there will be a return for the citizens of Jacksonville. He further says the City is working on a federal grant for the Hart Bridge ramp project, after recently bringing in $12.5 million from the State.

The Jags are partnering with The Cordish Companies in this proposal.

State of the Franchise recap! Downtown development, new uniforms for the Jags, and more!

Posted by Stephanie Brown, News 104.5 WOKV on Thursday, April 19, 2018
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