Ready to get back to the drawing board on downtown Jacksonville development, the Jaguars announced on Wednesday that the team will unveil updated plans for development in the city later this week.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan, President Mark Lamping and head coach Urban Meyer will speak at TIAA Bank Field on Thursday at 10:30 am to “address the team’s continued commitment to downtown development.” These will be the team’s first updated downtown development plans since the rejection of the failed Lot J deal on Jan. 12.
It remains to be seen what exactly the Jaguars’ new plans might bring, but it’s worth noting that Meyer will speak as former head coach Doug Marrone was not involved with that side of the organization.
Meyer has been a strong advocate for the development of improved football facilities, and has been pointing it out since the Jaguars hired him in January, a hiring that became official just days after the Lot J vote.
“There is a way that people who work for me will hear a statement with me that it’s just the best of the best. If not, the question is why? It’s the same thing I do every time I’m everywhere go through, “said Meyer at his introductory press conference in January.
“We did that in Ohio State. We did that in Florida. It’s just the very best. If not, especially when you talk about the welfare and safety of the players and then only about the players and when it’s not the very best , let’s have a chat and do what’s best. The Jacksonville players get pushed. In return, we give them the best, including the coaching staff, especially the coaching staff. Does a big hot tub make that much difference? I don’t have that but I just want to make sure it’s the best of the best. Shad is very committed to it, as is this organization. That’s something I find hard to answer at the moment, but I think inside months you can see or hear things that we do as best as possible for our players. “
Since then, there have been few updates on the Jaguars’ plans to build facilities – just regular reminders from Meyer of the importance of the franchise reinvesting in their own roster.
While the Jaguars are yet to have to reveal plans for a football facility, the team has continued to improve its organization in terms of the supply of off-field players. Meyer attaches great importance to athletic performance in order to improve speed and strength and to reduce injuries.
“It’s just on the performance side: dry needling, cupping, all the different therapies, activation materials, equipment, things like that. We have a few new facilities under construction, “said Jaguars Center and four-time attacking captain Brandon Linder last week.
“And then the food, the food was better, the diet, all these different shakes and so on. We only have more in hand now to be successful and to help us, to show our potential in the field, to show our worth. I don’t think twice [it’s being] spoiled or special. I think we’re the ones in the field that make this thing work. We have to give it back. We have to return it when we’re in the field. That’s the whole thing, isn’t it? We get everything we need, but when we enter this field, we have to use all our resources. “
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The announcement on Thursday will come almost six months after the last lot J vote. In January 2018, the Jaguars first presented the idea of a new entertainment complex around the stadium in a room called Lot J. Supporters of the deal hoped that the TIAA Bank Field stadium and its surrounding area would be the centerpiece of a revitalized downtown area that would include hotels, office space, an entertainment complex and apartments.
The project would have resulted in the city borrowing $ 208.3 million to fund the investment, including an interest-free, 50-year bread box loan of $ 65.5 million from the city to the private development group. Ultimately, the city would have been hooked for a $ 233.3 million investment in the deal, even though the initial borrowing was more than $ 200 million.
The deal required a two-thirds majority of the 19 members of the council, received only 12 votes, after which the deal was terminated and the Jaguars switched to other development projects.