JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville City Council members on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a partnership with the Jaguars to build the team’s $120 million football performance center.
The bill authorizes the city to borrow $60 million to help finance the team’s proposed facility and to amend the Jaguars’ stadium lease with the city. According to the agreement, the Jaguars would pay for the remaining $60 million.
“This is really a huge step and I’m not sure everyone appreciates just how significant this is,” said Mark Lamping, Jaguars president. “Journeys start with a single step, but when you look back on it, the first step is the most important, and this is a key first step for the stadium of the future and the future of the Jaguars here in Northeast Florida.”
Lamping said they could begin discussions on putting together a construction team as soon as Wednesday. He called it a “fast track project” and hopes to have the facility done by the 2023 season.
In an exclusive interview with News4Jax, Lamping said the 127,000-plus-square-foot training facility paves the way for the stadium of the future and opens the door to tomorrow for the Jaguars’ relationship with the city.
“We have nine years left on our lease here. We know that in order to make sure we have NFL football here in Northeast Florida for generations to come, which is what Shad is committed to, we know we’re going to have to have a stadium solution,” Lamping said. “You know the existing stadium certainly won’t serve the needs of our fans for the next 20-30 years.”
As reported by the Jacksonville Daily Record, the facility will be northwest of TIAA Bank Field. The center’s design needs final approval from the Downtown Development Review Board before breaking ground.
The Jaguars will move team offices, an equipment room, weight training, and medical facilities from the stadium to the performance center. It will have an indoor practice field, two outdoor natural-grass fields with about 2,300 bleacher seats, a team store and concession facilities.
Lamping said there are a lot of reasons this partnership makes sense. He said it’s a big investment for Jaguars owner Shad Khan and a big investment for the city.
“It cements the Jaguars even stronger here in Northeast Florida, and I think all of us agree that, you know, having NFL football in Northeast Florida is good for the community,” Lamping said.
On Twitter, Mayor Lenny Curry said the move paves the way forward for the Jaguars and Coach Urban Meyer in the years ahead:
“The @CityofJax approved a $120 million dollar sports and football performance center tonight. This paves the way for @Jaguars @CoachUrbanMeyer excellence in the years ahead. This is about commitment to excellence on the field and our city.”
Meyer tweeted his thanks to the city for partnering with the Jaguars on the project:
“Thanks to @CityofJax for partnering with the @Jaguars on a new Sports Performance Facility right here in downtown Jacksonville. We appreciate the investment in our athletes, our fans and the future of downtown Jacksonville. Congrats to the @1stdowntownjax team!”
Lamping said this is just one component to show the Jaguars’ commitment to Jacksonville. The other is the Shipyards, which he said will transform Downtown. City Council is scheduled to vote on that proposal within the next month.