Jaguars ask fans to join ‘huddle,’ share input in stadium renovation plans

Jaguars plan 14 community meetings through June to rally support for ‘Stadium of the Future’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars will kick off a series of community “huddles” next week to rally support for renovations that would create the “stadium of the future,” which the team unveiled in an online presentation earlier this week.

The futuristic update detailed in the four-minute video (which you can watch below) has everyone talking, which is just what the Jaguars want.

The fully reimagined venue will serve as the centerpiece of Jacksonville’s downtown area and keep the team in town after its lease expires in 2030, and the Jaguars are inviting fans to be part of the discussion with 14 “Huddle Up Jax” meetings through June.

“What people saw today (in the online presentation) would be in the range of $1.3 to $1.4 billion and it’s significantly less than if we would have built a new stadium. Building a new stadium with what was released today would be almost a billion dollars more so we think this is the most efficient way to go. This is the least disruptive way to go, we think, and it’s also the least expensive,” Jaguars team president Mark Lamping said.

A new sports district development would cost between $550 and $668 million, placing the combined cost between $1.75 and $2.068 billion. The cost for a brand new stadium, according to city documents, would be $1.9 to $2.1 billion.

Those costs will be the next big hurdle to get past. Under a May 11 document, the taxpayers and city would be responsible for between $800 million and $934 million (67%) of the stadium costs. The city would pay just 14% of the sports development district ($75 to $100 million). The Jaguars and owner Shad Khan’s Iguana Investments would handle the remaining costs of each.

A UNF poll last spring said that 61% of those surveyed “oppose the expenditure, either strongly or somewhat.” The number used in that poll was $750 million.

To get the community behind the project, Lamping will hold a series of 14 community conversations about the team’s stadium proposal and answer questions, starting Monday:

  • Strings Sports Brewery (Monday, 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m.)
  • Ramada by Wyndham Jacksonville (Tuesday, 5-6:30 p.m.)
  • Jacksonville Golf & Country Club (Wednesday, 5-6:30)
  • Hyatt Place on Duval Road (Thursday, 5-6:30)
  • Argyle Branch Library (Friday, June 16, 11:30-1)
  • Deerwood Country Club (Saturday, June 17, 11:30-1)
  • Atlantic Beach Country Club (Saturday, June 17, 5-6:30)
  • Community First Igloo (Monday, June 19, 11:30-1)
  • Fairfield Inn and Suites on Chaffee Point Blvd. (Monday, June 19, 5-6:30)
  • Grounds of Grace in Arlington (Tuesday, June 20, 11:30-1)
  • Bradham and Brooks Library (Tuesday, June 20, 5-6:30)
  • Casa Marina Hotel (Wednesday, June 21, 11:30-1)
  • Charles Webb Westconnett Regional Library (Wednesday, June 21, 5-6:30)
  • The Zoo (Wednesday, June 22, 11:30-1)
Huddle Up Jax meeting schedule (Jaguars)

The other part of the renovation discussions that fans are talking about is the timeline.

Lamping laid out two scenarios for the Jaguars for a successful stadium deal. One, a 30-month renovation to begin after the 2025 season, would push the Jaguars away from TIAA Bank Field for the 2026 and ‘27 seasons, and return home to the revamped facility in 2028. The second scenario is to stretch the construction across four offseasons and still play games there.

RELATED: What have other NFL teams done while awaiting stadium renovations? Here are 5 recent examples

What’s in the plan?

Likely the most fan-pleasing change proposed in Jacksonville’s reimagined TIAA Bank Field — shade. The open-air venue features a “first-of-its-kind mirrored material.” The reflective, mirrored material will have a reflection of Jacksonville’s waterfront. The shade canopy over the stadium is said to reduce heat retention by more than 70% and lowers temperatures between 10 to 15 degrees.

Gallery: ‘Stadium of the Future’ renderings

The updated stadium has definite similarities to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, a state-of-the-art facility that looks sleek and has dozens of fan-friendly upgrades.

“We have reached the end of this important and initial phase of this project, the design of the stadium we envision will be the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars and serve our entire community for generations to come,” Khan in a statement.

“From stadium discussions starting in 2016 to the formal process launched in July 2020 and now concluding, our objective has always been the same — lock in a promising future for the Jaguars and help our downtown become an economic engine to lift all of Jacksonville, particularly areas that have been underserved. Being able to share the video and stadium design highlights with the people of Jacksonville is a significant step forward in that effort.”

The canopy is raised at the northern and southern ends of the stadium to streamline and maximize airflow. Seating will be 62,000 with the ability to expand up to 71,500 to accommodate a college football postseason game or a large outdoor concert.

“This is also all happening at a fantastic time for everyone. Jacksonville is red hot. Just check out all of the recent rankings — best places to live, best housing market, hottest job market, best place to start a business, Jacksonville ranks within the top five in all of those lists,” Khan said. “Add the fact the Jaguars are coming off a playoff season, and positioned for even better days ahead, and it all points to better and hopefully our best days just ahead in Jacksonville.”

“We fully anticipate a reimagined sports complex with the renovated stadium as its centerpiece will spark development in the east end of Downtown Jacksonville similar to the renaissance of the Brooklyn neighborhood to the west,” Lamping said in a statement. “Combining the power of development to both the west and east of Downtown Jacksonville should create even more momentum in our downtown core, which is already set to benefit from The Shipyards project currently underway.”

Some of the highlights of the project include:

  • Drawing inspiration from Jacksonville’s lush landscapes--a network of biking and walking trails, parklands, greenways, beaches and marshes—the striking design captures the essence of Florida. Fans will enter through a subtropical Floridian park, leading them to the main concourse. The concourse is elevated 30 feet above the ground, offering expansive views for Downtown Jacksonville and the St. Johns River.
  • The 360-degree concourse, four times wider than before, will feature interactive social bars and a variety of unique experiences alongside culinary delights native to Jacksonville. Every fan will discover something unique during each visit to the venue, which offers a wide range of premium offerings and communal spaces.
  • The stadium will feature lookout decks that offer citywide views. A fritted roof membrane introduces dispersed ambient light throughout the stadium interior.
  • The new stadium design addresses key fan requests, including a 185% increase in main concourse surface area, a 260-percent increase in upper concourse surface area, 360-degree connectivity in the upper concourse, 13 new elevators and 32 new escalators to support vertical movement, 220 new food and beverage points of sale and 14 new restrooms.
  • Construction will generate thousands of jobs and, once complete, the stadium will become a source of immense civic pride and a coveted destination for residents and visitors alike to Jacksonville, which was rated by Lending Tree earlier this year as No. 5 among America’s Biggest Boomtowns — and No. 1 among NFL markets.

RELATED: ‘They’re going to redo everything’: Mayor Lenny Curry and Mayor-elect Donna Deegan talk stadium renovations

The Buffalo Bills just broke ground on their new stadium which will have more than $800 million of public money going towards it. The Titans have put a new stadium on the table in Nashville, a $2.1 billion project. The team is paying $840 million with the state of Tennessee contributing $500 million.

About the Authors:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.