Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s company agrees to buy Jacksonville Fairgrounds; fair to move to Westside

Fair’s new location next to Jacksonville Equestrian Center on Normandy Boulevard

Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s development company, Iguana Investments, has agreed to purchase the Jacksonville Fairgrounds downtown. In turn, the fair will move west more than 15 miles away.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s development company, Iguana Investments, has agreed to purchase the Jacksonville Fairgrounds downtown. In turn, the fair will move west more than 15 miles away.

Iguana Investments on Friday released a statement to News4JAX about the deal in place to buy the current fairgrounds property:

“We have entered into an agreement with the Jacksonville Fairgrounds to purchase the fairgrounds and are supporting the fair in its move to a new location that is more aligned with its agricultural roots. Once the fair completes their relocation to the new site, our immediate plan is to convert the entire property to surface parking to support Jaguars games and other events at the sports complex. Removing the existing fairgrounds buildings will allow for the parking capacity at the site to increase by more than 50 percent.”

As reported by the Jacksonville Daily Record, the fair is preparing to move to Jacksonville’s Westside -- next to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center on Normandy Boulevard.

The fair, which has become an iconic sight in downtown Jacksonville every November, will remain at its current location for the next two years. It’s expected to move to its new location in 2025.

Would you travel to the Westside to go to the fair? Let us know in the questionnaire below and your response may be used on a newscast on Channel 4 or on News4JAX.com.

“We are going to be able to offer a lot more,” said Bill Olson, CEO of the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair.

The fair will be able to expand from its current 30-acre site to 80 acres at the new location and will also be able to use the equestrian center, providing even more room.

New fairgrounds site rendering (Provided to WJXT)

How much is it going to cost? No one would say. Property tax records show the fairgrounds land is worth about $7 million. The proceeds from the sale will be used to add new buildings to the Westside site, and a lease will be worked out with the city and those who operate the equestrian center.

“This area is a jewel. We love it out here,” said Candice Barnes, with the equestrian center. “A lot of people don’t know that we’re here, so we are excited.”

New fairgrounds site rendering (Provided to WJXT)

But the real test will come when it moves -- will people go?

Timothy Rising agrees with the move.

“I would love my kids to have that experience,” Rising said.

Heather Garcia said she would not go to the Westside

“That is too far for me, unfortunately,” Garcia said.

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Meanwhile, the city and Khan entered into a deal worth a quarter of a billion dollars that includes a sports performance complex. Work is underway northwest of TIAA Bank Field.

The state-of-the-art facility will ultimately house team offices, an equipment room, weight training and medical facilities. There will also be an indoor practice field, two outdoor natural-grass fields with about 2,300 bleacher seats, a team store and concession facilities. If things move ahead on schedule, it could be up and running by the start of the 2023 season.

And there’s Khan’s $321 million plan to bring a luxury Four Seasons hotel to anchor a project on the former Metropolitan Park site. The deal moved closer to breaking ground earlier this month when the Department of Environmental Protection agreed to lift certain restrictions.


About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.