On Thursday, the Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to reveal plans for an entertainment complex outside of their home stadium.
There has been considerable discussion of late over the team’s pursuit of future development, as the Jaguars have been reported to be considering the building of an entertainment district on the stadium’s Lot J. Details about the plans are expected to be revealed on Thursday as part of the annual State of the Franchise address.
Under owner Shad Khan, the Jaguars have completed a variety of stadium upgrades and have developed the surrounding area through projects like the Daily’s Place amphitheater. Khan is also involved in other development projects for nearby locations, as his Iguana Investments Florida was chosen by the Downtown Investment Authority last year to serve as master developer of Metropolitan Park and The Shipyards.
That would give Khan and the Jaguars an active role in redeveloping the area around the stadium, but the projects face their own questions. For the proposed entertainment district, environmental issues could pose a challenge, as the site was long used as a fuel terminal and contamination found there in the 1990’s was sealed and paved over, but not removed. Time will tell whether this affects plans for the project, but city officials appear to be keeping an open mind. More from The Florida Union-Tribune:
But complicated challenges stand in the way: contaminated soil at Lot J and The Shipyards, a National Park Service agreement that prevents private development on Met Park unless the city can find replacement park land elsewhere, and the continued hunt for money to tear down the Hart Bridge elevated ramps that run alongside Met Park.
“None of these projects is going to be easy,” said City Council member Reggie Gaffney, whose district contains the sports complex. “But at the same time, I’m a strong believer that we can overcome any obstacle to achieve the outcome we want to achieve.”
He said he hasn’t heard any estimates for the city’s cost. He said it’s “not going to be cheap,” but he’s hopeful it is something the city can afford because it will boost downtown in a way that would be good for the entire city.
“I think one of the problems we’ve always had is when opportunities like this came about, I don’t think the city was ready for it,” Gaffney said, adding he thinks it’s different this time.
The Jaguars are expected to hold off until Thursday before presenting any major details on the proposed entertainment district. Patriot Place (Gillette Stadium) and Titletown (Lambeau Field) provide some examples of how existing entertainment districts can compliment NFL stadiums by providing pre and post-game destinations for fans, and making the area surrounding the facility a draw on a year-round basis. The Jaguars’ home stadium has long been known as EverBank Field, but is set to become TIAA Bank Field.
Image courtesy Jacksonville Jaguars.
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