JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In about nine months, EverBank Field will have a new addition called “Daily's Place,” which will feature the much-anticipated amphitheater and covered flex-field that have been in the works since January.
The excitement around the team's newest project, which is sponsored by Daily's convenience store, is growing.
“It's a tremendous asset,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “We have a private sector owner of the Jaguars who is willing to invest large sums of his money in our city and in our Downtown.”
Curry joined Jaguars owner Shad Khan and other city leaders to officially break ground on Daily’s Place on Friday.
As the final plans for the amphitheater and flex-field were revealed Friday morning, Khan said the project is one-of-a-kind.
“We no longer want to be a well-kept secret,” Khan said. “(This will provide) more entertainment and more reasons for people to come to town and generate revenue for the city and have a great time in the process.”
Jaguars unveil plans, name
The plans include a state-of-the-art amphitheater with high-tech video and sound technology, a flex field with a regulation-size football fiel, and an artist building for performers with dressing rooms, lounges, a VIP guest meet-and-greet space and more.
“If you look at the structure, it really takes advantage of the weather here,” Khan said. “It's not too hot or too cold. You can enjoy the sunlight, yet it keeps you out of the elements, whether it's thunderstorming, raining or whatever.”
SAM'S COMMENTARY: Khan wants to get it right
City Councilman John Crescimbeni and Daily’s President and CEO Aubrey Edge were also among those who wielded shovels Friday and talked about Phase 2 of the $90 million investment in EverBank Field that was announced in January.
Daily’s was one of several companies interested in the naming rights of the facilities, and the Daily's Place name will have to be approved by the city once officials receive the agreement.
Jaguars President Mark Lamping said that the partnership between the team and Daily's will be beneficial to both.
“They have a great footprint throughout this community,” he said. “They have thousands and thousands of people each and every day going through Daily's stores. That's going to be a wonderful platform for us to be able to promote activities.”
The new amenities on the south end of EverBank Field won’t be far from the Shipyards, and the two projects go well together, Khan said.
“I think what this means for the Shipyards is that it's very good. You have to have some inertia to get something going,” Khan said. “It would be a great opportunity for a high-end hotel, convention center, which, really, this town needs.”
Lamping said Daily’s Place will contribute to a much greater utilization of existing infrastructure.
“This allows us to use parts of the stadium an additional 30 or 40 times a year,” Lamping said. “We think it's really a spectacular design, but one of the greatest things about it is it's really efficient the way it integrates into the stadium."
Project partially completed
Phase 1, involving upgrading EverBank Field’s east and west clubs, has already been completed. News4Jax was the first to show you what it looked like inside and outside of the new U.S. Assure Club, which carried a price tag of $26.2 million.
A plush new facelift, the largest indoor TVs in the state of Florida and the only outdoor patios at the 50-yard line in the NFL are just some of the new features in the club.
Phase 1 also included a new South End Zone super tunnel.
The entire project got the go-ahead late last year when the Jacksonville City Council voted unanimously to help support the project with bed-tax money from tourists' hotel stays. That money can only be used for sports and entertainment in the city.
Video renderings of what the stadium will look like in Spring 2017 were also unveiled Friday.
Now the focus is on completing the $65 million second phase. The 5,500-fixed-seat amphitheater, which is expected to bring more concerts, shows and events to Jacksonville, and the indoor practice facility or “flex field,” which can be used for Jags practices and community events are expected to be completed by May 2017.
What's next for venues
The impact of the new project will be felt soon after the scheduled completion.
Lamping said that the city should expect to see performances at the new facility before Memorial Day of next year, bringing even more people downtown.
Dozens more events each year are expected to be held at the state-of-the-art facility.
“Shad Khan has made a tremendous investment in Jacksonville. Once we see the waterfront start developing, once we can hopefully get this half-cent tax passed, the pension fund passed, I think you are going to see us take off,” City Councilman Tommy Hazouri said.
The 5,500-seat amphitheater is expected to host concerts on Saturday nights before home games and be another venue for events and activities during such as the Florida/Georgia game, or even something possibly much bigger, if Khan has his way.
“It could be a great venue for the Draft,” Khan said. “With all of the amenities that go with hosting an event like that.”
The plan is for the facility to hold about 35 to 40 events each year, which means more revenue from parking and concessions.
Curry said world-class facilities such as this one make it much easier to attract events from around the state and country to host, boosting the local economy.
He was very complimentary of Khan’s continued commitment to not only the team, but also the city. Curry has high expectations for both.
“I enjoy all of the games, but this is just going to raise the level of intensity and increase the entertainment and enjoyment,” Curry said. “And I expect us to be in the playoffs this year. I'm calling 10 wins.”