Plan could bring new soccer stadium to downtown Jacksonville
Mayor Curry will review the plan next week
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city is working on a deal that would bring a new stadium to downtown Jacksonville. But this stadium isn't for football — it's for fútbol.
The deal would sell five acres of land near the Sports Complex to RP Funding, the owner of Jacksonville Armada FC, Jacksonville's professional soccer team that plays in the National Premier Soccer League. RP Funding would pay $1 for the land and eventually build the stadium and office complex for its business in an area is located in parking lot Y off of A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard.
The agreement calls for the stadium to have a minimum of 2,500 seats, but an Armada spokesman said they were planning for 10,000 seats.
Jacksonville's Office of Economic Development is listening. Executive director Kirk Wendland has drawn up an agreement that the mayor's office will review next week.
"The Armada has been looking for a home for a long time and a permanent home where they can have a great stadium for their fans to come to," Wendland said.
Currently, Armada FC has played at various locations during its first four years in existence including Patton Park, Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida and the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
Wendland is hopeful they will move forward with an option in agreement and build the stadium.
RP Funding would make a $5,000 payment with the option to hold the land for three years. If RP Funding moves ahead and decides to build, it can buy the land for $1 but the stadium would have to be completed by 2025.
The deal would still need approval from the mayor and City Council.
The area where the stadium would be located off of A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard has been the scene of several shootings and other crimes in the past several years. News4Jax talked to a number of people living in the area who said the plan might work.
"It gives us something more to do in this area," said Tiffany Williams, a local resident.
Wendland said the stadium would be one step to redevelop the area.
"We're trying to do a lot of things around the Sports Complex and I think it's a great opportunity to have another stadium in our area again where the Armada can play soccer games and there's a lot of people excited about the growth of soccer in our area," Wendland said.
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