The Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to catapult their club into the upper class of the NFL communities. As one of the league’s youngest franchises, the Jaguars consistently rank at or near the end in terms of facilities and surroundings. Now the owner Shad Khan is taking over the reins to hopefully change that.
On Thursday, the Jaguars announced plans for a major renovation and revitalization of both downtown Jacksonville and the Jaguars facilities. The facility update would focus on stadium renovations and a football performance center. The latter, to be built next to Gate 2, will include public art, public viewing bleachers, toilets, concession areas, retail stores, and public meeting rooms for football operations.
According to the Jaguars, “the current space devoted to football operations within TIAA Bank Field does not meet the needs of NFL teams.”
This plan will allow them to continue playing games at TIAA Bank Field during the renovation, according to team president Mark Lamping.
Stadium renovation plans include shading all seats, wider halls, more space for football operations, better vertical transportation, and replacement of the HVAC, plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems. These renovations would begin after the 2021 season.
The new 125,000 square meter practice facility in the soccer performance center will be adjacent to the public promenade. It will include two outdoor courts and one indoor facility as well as shady spectator areas. The proposed plan is for this to ideally be completed before the 2023 season.
The Jaguars suggest that the club and the City of Jacksonville cut the cost of the new facilities in half. The currently projected cost is $ 120 million. The City of Jacksonville will own the facility and property, while the Jags will handle all cost overruns, ongoing maintenance, capital improvements and operating expenses under a long term lease agreement.
The facilities will be “player-centered” under the direction of new head coach Urban Meyer. These include locker rooms, meeting rooms, exercise and recreation areas, medical facilities, weight rooms, dining rooms, office space and the design room.
With the construction of the new practice field and the facilities, the current flex field would be open to community use by the Park and Recreation Office for over 300 days a year; Concerts, picnics, volleyball games, flag football games, etc.
According to Lamping, all of these proposals are “tied to a five-star hotel” downtown, adding that a Four Seasons cannot be promised and a Days Inn cannot be delivered. And Shad Khan promises a Four Seasons.
After the failure of the Lot-J proposal, Khan, who supports the hotel investment with his own capital, wants to find new ways to revitalize the city center and the waterfront. It starts with the opening of a Four Seasons Hotel. 176 rooms and 25 residential units as well as ballrooms, conference rooms and restaurants are to be opened in 2025.
Khan claims it is not a risk to Four Seasons, but rather his business to bring this to downtown Jacksonville.
“My goal is to make Downtown Jacksonville the envy of cities here in the US and elsewhere, and I see no reason we can’t achieve that goal,” said Jaguars team owner Shad Khan’s Leadership, Spirit and Commitment, Downtown Jacksonville enlivening in a way that makes the world aware while serving the needs of the community and the people who make Jacksonville their home. “
“Shad is making a big bet on our future,” said Jaguars team president Mark Lamping. “So this is a big plan. Together we can do it. “
The proposal envisages the Jaguars’ plan to take over the Met Park as part of the city’s private park adoption program, which will allocate $ 4 million over 20 years to keep the park clean, safe, and well-maintained.
The city’s own marina is being renovated and modernized, including the construction of a new 6,500 square meter marina support building with a harbor master’s office, a ship storage facility, toilets with showers, a dining area, a marina park and an event area. The marina facilities will continue to be owned by the City of Jacksonville to serve temporary boaters.
Finally, phase 1 will focus on a six-story office building. It will be home to the business of Jaguars as well as their affiliates and third party renters.
The entire Phase 1 (including the $ 120 million for the soccer performance center) will be $ 441 million.
As part of Phase 2 of the project, the club is working with Baptist Health and the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute to develop a 42,000-square-foot orthopedic sports medicine complex. This offers advanced medical care for sports injuries, recovery and prevention, and performance training.