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Jacksonville City Council President Ron Salem listens as Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping pitches a proposed new agreement for leasing the city's municipal stadium. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

Mayor, Jags unveil ‘Stadium of the Future’ proposal

Published on May 14, 2024 at 10:39 pm

Over the next few weeks, the Jacksonville City Council is set to weigh the proposed deal between the city and the Jacksonville Jaguars for the “Stadium of the Future.”

In a tag-team effort at City Hall on Tuesday evening, Mayor Donna Deegan, the city’s chief negotiator Mike Weinstein and Jags President Mark Lamping each conveyed parts of the plan to rehabilitate and renovate the municipal stadium, how the costs would be split and how long it would take, among other details.

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Deegan said the tentative new lease agreement puts the city in a much better position than the current lease.

“This is light years ahead of the last lease,” Deegan said at a press conference following the presentation to council. 

Weinstein emphasized that there are new city revenue streams in the deal that are not in the current agreement. He also stressed that the way the city would finance the renovation, by extending the Better Jacksonville Plan for another year, would save taxpayers $1.5 billion in debt.

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“It’s not 24 years, it’s 25 years,” Weinstein said. “Compare that to a billion and a half of debt for the citizens. And it’s a pretty easy choice. Let it run an extra year and save a billion and a half of debt service.”

He said Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration had wanted to sunset the tax earlier, but legislation was never filed to do so, so the Deegan administration is just putting the tax sunset timeline back to where it began.

City of Jacksonville chief negotiator Mike Weinstein discusses Stadium of the Future financing at Jacksonville City Hall on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

Here are the basics of the tentative deal:

  • Construction costs are expected to be paid over four years, and construction is proposed to displace the Jags for a single season – 2027 – which they would play in either Gainesville or Orlando.
  • Construction costs for the estimated $1.25 billion project would be split evenly between the Jags and the city, with the Jaguars responsible for all construction cost overruns.
  • The Deegan administration said there will be no new tax or tax increase to finance the city’s portion of the renovations — roughly $625 million — but the plan does require extending a current Better Jacksonville Plan sales tax back to 2030 – the original sunset date, according to the city.
  • Because of delayed maintenance needed at the stadium, the city is proposing to pay another $150 million to fund those repairs. That makes the city’s share, essentially, a 55%/45% split — which could be more palatable to NFL team owners when the deal terms reach them later this year for a vote.
  • The proposed new lease is for 30 years, with what Weinstein said are “substantial” penalties for bowing out early.     
  • If the City Council and 75% of NFL team owners agree, construction is set to begin in February 2025. 

“This is a lot of information to digest,” Council President Ron Salem said to his fellow members. “And I’m sure many of you have questions, as I do. I will commit that we will take all the time we need to get this deal right. So please take the time necessary to review the documentation and preparation for the discourse over the next several weeks.”

Deegan urged the council to accept the deal before them. 

“While nobody wants to spend a lot of money, the truth is, this was a binary choice. We can build a stadium or we could lose our team, and that’s not going to happen on my watch,” Deegan said. “This is something that is incredibly important to Jacksonville and to me as somebody who has pride in Jacksonville. And I have to tell you, through this whole process, it’s very clear to me that the Jaguars have a great love for the city as well.”

Jaguars President Mark Lamping walks back to his seat in City Council chambers at City Hall on Tuesday after helping present a new deal to renovate the municipal stadium. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

Deegan said it is a whole lot easier “to be negative than it is to be positive, but the team loves Jax.”

“They have gone around the bend to get to an agreement that was so much better for our taxpayers,” Deegan said. “I’m very, very proud of that. As a native of this city and someone who really believes in that and in this team. I think, in the next 30 years, we’re gonna watch this city truly blossom. And I think this stadium is a big piece of that.”

The team and the mayor are hosting five “community huddles” to answer public questions and gather feedback on the plan before city council is expected to vote on it at the end of June. 

The huddles are set for: 

  • Mandarin High School
    4831 Greenland Rd.
    Jacksonville 32258
    May 15, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • The Legends Center
    5130 Soutel Dr.
    Jacksonville 32208
    May 16, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Fletcher High School
    700 Seagate Ave.
    Neptune Beach 32266
    May 20, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Sandalwood High School
    2750 John Promenade Blvd.
    Jacksonville 32246
    May 29 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Westside High School
    5530 Firestone Road
    Jacksonville 32244
    May 30, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

author image Reporter

Casmira Harrison is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on local government in Duval County.

Harrison can be reached at casmira@jaxtoday.org.

author image Reporter

Casmira Harrison is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on local government in Duval County.

Harrison can be reached at casmira@jaxtoday.org.


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