Shipyards proposals reignited with football season


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Football season is finally here again and something people may be wondering about if they follow the Jags is the Shipyards project Jaguars owner Shad Khan has been proposing to the city.

The proposal would bring everything from new practice fields to restaurants and housing to the Shipyards, which is right across the street from Everbank Field.

The project got a lot of press earlier this year and has since died off in the headlines but city leaders are saying that the new mayor, Lenny Curry, is a different type of negotiator than his predecessor and that could change the terms of the project that was proposed earlier this year.

A major issue for the city of Jacksonville that hasn't had much press since the election of the new mayor has been the potential development of the Shipyards property adjacent to the stadium, a project tailgaters for Friday night's Jaguars game are talking about.

"I'm excited. If it's everything they say it's going to be it will bring people downtown. Right now no one really comes to downtown for anything to do," Jaguars fan Eddie Smith said.

News4Jax reached out to the mayor's office to find out where negotiations with Shad Khan's group, Iguana Investments, stands. They declined an on-camera interview and sent a statement that was short on specifics:

"Shad Khan is a tremendous asset for this city. I look forward to working with him and his team to develop this critical area."

City Councilman Bill Gulliford (pictured below) did have something to say about the project, though.

"I get the sense that Mr. Khan is making a proposal and it's being reviewed. I would suspect with this administration thus far, there's probably going to be a counter-proposal and some strong negotiating."

The Shipyards project was initially being discussed by the Downtown Investment Authority, a board set up by the former mayor. Gulliford questions how much they're still involved.

"I don't know that it's at DIA level, I think there's some negotiating and I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect the mayor's directly involved in that, he said he would be. So I don't think you've seen the finished project that's going to be advance to DIA," Gulliford said.

Gulliford suspects the deal will change now that Curry is at the negotiating table. A big issue with some city leaders had been the city paying $35 million to clean up the Shipyards which has a lot of environmental damage. But hearing this is a concern for Jags die-hards

"I don't know what the holdup is. I've been reading a little in the paper, I'm hoping it goes through. We need all the improvements down here we can get," Jaguars fan John Short said.

News4Jax also reached out to both the attorney representing Iguana Investments and the Jaguars and is still waiting for a response.

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