JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday laid out a $441 million plan to redevelop The Shipyards and bring a Four Seasons Hotel to the downtown banks of the St. Johns River.
The team, along with their affiliated real estate development Iguana Investments, also showed off proposed plans for a football performance center next to TIAA Bank Field, an office building, an orthopedic sports medicine complex and improvements to the city-owned marina and public spaces.
“We have serious momentum here in Jacksonville and in particularly downtown,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said. “But one thing about momentum though is you can’t bank it, and you can lose it. And we don’t want to do either. We have the momentum, and we’re going to build upon it.”
According to Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping, project plans do not include any development on the current site of Metropolitan Park.
The Four Seasons Hotel and Residences, with 176 rooms and 25 residential units, would open in early 2025, if the plans are approved.
When it comes to the football side of things, the Jaguars plan to build a state-of-the-art performance center which will be a hybrid facility that blends football performance and public access. The football performance center, which will be built next to the stadium near Gate 2, will include public art, public viewing stands, restrooms, concession areas, retail stores and public meeting space.
Lamping said the football performance center must be completed before more comprehensive stadium renovations can begin, like adding shading over the seating and expanding the concourses.
Lamping said the team will sign a long-term lease of the practice facility, anticipated to open in summer 2023, in addition to contributing $60 million of the $120 million costs for construction. The Jaguars said the team will bear full responsibility for ongoing capital, maintenance and operational costs of the football facilities, which in the past have been the responsibility of the city of Jacksonville.
The city-owned athletic performance center will also have locker rooms, team and positional meeting rooms, training and recovery areas, medical support facilities, a state-of-the-art weight room, dining facilities, coaches and scouts’ offices, a draft room and public meeting space, the team said. There will also be two full-size grass practice fields and a full-size indoor practice field, which will allow for the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department to program the existing Flex Field 300-plus days a year.
The total cost of bringing the Four Seasons, football performance center, marina, and office building to life will be an estimated $441 million, Lamping said.
The first phase would create 7,500 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs, according to the team.
The plan will need city approval and city dollars, and given what happened with Lot J, that might not be easy.
It wasn’t immediately clear how much of the total project cost will be paid for by the Jaguars and how much would be paid for with taxpayer money. The proposal would need to go through the Downtown Investment Authority before that can be determined, Lamping said.
News4Jax asked Lamping what makes this project proposal different than the failed Lot J project.
“One of the things that I think we really learned during that process, and I’ll take full ownership of it, is I think we could have done a much better job in us actively getting involved in the narrative,” Lamping said. “So there’s a lot of people here today, a lot of community leaders, a lot of city council members, mayor’s staff, and I think all those people in the room, this is not news to them. This is not something that is just being unfolded today. We’ve had a lot of conversations over the course of the past few months.”
Lamping noted that the Lot J plan had the support of 12 members of the city council, but 13 votes were needed.
“At the end of the day, I think this project makes a significant amount of sense for the City of Jacksonville, for a number of reasons. One, it’ll be a very good return for the city’s investment,” Lamping said.
Also, unlike Lot J, The Cordish Companies is not involved in the proposal.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry called the proposal “visionary” adding that there is still work to be done.
“We’re still in negotiations with them. That is their proposal. That is what they tell us they need to make this work. So nothing is final at this point. We are going to have to hammer that out and they are working with city council at the same time as well,” Curry said.
The DIA could vote on the proposal in July, but it would also have to be approved by city council.