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- 2012 - May - 8th -
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Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping and Mayor Alvin Brown.
Photo by David Chapman
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Lamping, Brown want to expand their markets

by David Chapman, Staff Writer

One comes from the private sector, one the public, but Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping and Mayor Alvin Brown both have a common trait: the want — and need —for growth in their position.

Both men spoke to members of Urban Land Institute North Florida recently about their growth goals.

For Lamping, it’s the expansion of the Jaguars’ brand and addition to the regional and national fan base that he says cannot come at the expense of the local market.

“It begins right here … we have to be strong in our core market,” Lamping said, referring to Northeast Florida.

That includes embracing the military community even further and one that is “extremely important to the quality of life here in Jacksonville.” The plan to rally around the community “is not a supplemental plan,” he said.

Outside the area, Lamping said growing the regional community is “not just something that can be done overnight” and begins by becoming involved in those communities. He also said the team will soon unveil a caravan program for such communities outside the region.

But, regardless of outside efforts, Lamping was adamant about the local commitment.

“Our focus is here in Jacksonville … our most important market will always be Jacksonville,” he said.

Brown discussed the local market, but in terms of the economy.

Several days after issuing a tentative budget to City Council, Brown said revenues in the City were projected to drop $45 million — mostly from losses in property tax and half-cent sales tax collections.

He said the key to growth is “all about revenue, all about the economy” and that his proposed economic development reform currently being vetted by City Council would have a positive effect on the real estate market when it is enacted.

In response to a question regarding the lack of lending by banks in the current economic environment, Brown discussed an idea to pitch the top 100 local successful, “seasoned investors” and individuals to pool their money — he suggested maybe $2 million each — to privately invest in three or four major projects in a public-private partnership.

“We can name it the ‘Take Jacksonville to the Next Level’ fund … I think we can do it,” Brown said.

Brown said the idea would be that investor guaranteed returns on investment would not be the typical 9-10 percent but maybe around half that.

“It’s about being creative,” Brown said.

dchapman@baileypub.com

356-2466

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