Contamination beneath Lot J could be hurdle for Jaguars' plans

Fuel tanks previously sat on property now set to be entertainment zone

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A potential holdup may be in the way of any future plans to turn what is now Lot J outside EverBank Field into an entertainment complex. News4Jax has learned that, much like the Shipyards property, which Shad Khan hopes to turn into a major entertainment venue, the parking lot has contaminated soil underneath it. 

So far, the team has only said it is exploring the possibility of developing the massive parking lot. Before the Gator Bowl was refurbished and turned into an NFL stadium, the area was populated by petroleum tanks, which records show led to contamination in the ground underneath.

Hundreds of parking spaces now fill what is Lot J, on the southwest corner of the stadium along Bay Street.

Documents show that in 1994, a vapor detector test on the site found petroleum contamination. 

The parking lot was still allowed to be built on the land, with the asphalt making it so none of the contaminants were exposed. A later document from the city of Jacksonville says the parking lot falls within the restrictions of a nonresidential and nonrecreational facility. The document also says “the asphalt shall not be penetrated or removed,”  “no soil under the asphalt cap may be exposed so that people may come in contact with it” and “no dwelling may be constructed on the property” until environmental remediation is done to remove the contaminants in the soil and groundwater.

One environmental remediation worker, who did not want to be identified said that the remediation process for the lot may be cheaper and quicker than the Shipyards would be because of the size, but that would also depend on how contaminated the soil is when tests are done.

A spokeswoman for the Jaguars said the team is still in the early stages of this project, which includes environmental testing. They may be able to say more at the team’s State of the Franchise presentation in the middle of April.