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Jax Daily Record Friday, Aug. 4, 201710:17 PM EST

Jaguars' Lamping: The Cordish Companies focus of trip with Curry

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Baltimore developer has expertise with sports districts.
by: David Cawton Staff Writer

Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping said Friday a late July cross-country trip with Mayor Lenny Curry and Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa focused on one developer - The Cordish Companies.

Lamping said the Baltimore, Maryland-based company has “world-class expertise” in development around sports facilities.

“They’re one of the developers that are interested in helping us,” Lamping said.

The journey made stops in Kansas City, St. Louis and Baltimore, all places where Cordish has completed projects.

According to its website, Cordish has several projects that incorporate a professional or minor league sports complex into an entertainment district.

Those include Ball Park Village outside of Busch Stadium in St. Louis, the Power and Light District by the Sprint Center in Kansas City, and development in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor near M&T Bank Stadium, home to the NFL Ravens.

“This was a trip about how do you come up with a development that integrates very seamlessly in what would be called a sports neighborhood,” Lamping said.

Lamping was president of the St. Louis Cardinals when Busch Stadium was being built, and said he knew Cordish “very well.”

Iguana Investments Florida, Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s development group, has about a year to bring a development agreement to the city for a multi-use entertainment district at the riverfront Shipyards and Metro Park properties Downtown.

According to a proposal approved in April by the Downtown Investment Authority, Khan’s vision could cost near $500 million to complete.

How the city and Khan divide those costs will be determined.

Lamping, president of Iguana Investments, said negotiations are going well, but both sides need to determine the final site plans.

“This is a partnership with the city, and whatever we do, we have to make sure the city embraces and shares that vision,” he said.

Mayor Lenny Curry said Tuesday the trip was an opportunity see how other cities have approached large public-private development deals.

“We were talking to people who could literally invest hundreds of millions into our Downtown,” Curry said.

“But they need to know that we’re serious about this and that projects won’t be hung up on some political debate that’s going to take a decade to work out, he said.”

 A look inside new practice facility

Lamping spoke to media Friday inside the Jaguars’ new indoor practice facility, the last piece of a $90 million project the city and the team embarked on in 2015.

The Jaguars’ new indoor practice facility is nearly complete.

The city and Jaguars split the costs, with the city’s portion coming from bed tax revenue collected from guests staying at local hotels.

It’s the second deal for stadium improvements in the last decade between the city and the Jaguars that included upgrades to the stadium club seating and a new amphitheater.  

The nearly 95,000-square-foot practice facility shares a roof with the amphitheater, something Lamping said couldn’t have been accomplished without a custom design.  

“Quite honestly, Shad wanted something that was custom-made and not necessarily something you buy off the shelf,” he said.

Lamping said the Daily’s Place amphitheater has attracted about 90,000 people to 16 shows as of Friday.

“The reviews from our patrons have been really good,” he said. “More importantly the reviews from the artists have come in, too, and have been very, very good.”

Lamping said work remains at the practice facility, but that it should be ready for the team when they return to Jacksonville from Boston on Friday.

Inside, construction workers are preparing the turf field and making some minor final touches.

Outside, Lamping said the team soon will begin making the plain structure look more like “the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

The structure is 98 percent air - and water-tight, according to Lamping, allowing the temperature to stay around 75 degrees when the doors are closed.

The tallest point is roughly 55 feet.

The south-facing hangar doors can open to a space spanning the 30-yard markers on each side of the 100-yard field.

Lamping said it’s possible to use field to house more fans for larger shows at Daily’s Place, since the 48-foot back door opens to the main stage.

On game days, Lamping said it could be used for pre-game activities, although any functions other than football will be decided after Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone decides how he wants to use it.

“Our No. 1 customer is the Jacksonville Jaguars,” he said. “I think Doug needs to get a sense of how best to utilize this facility.”

Ticket sales

Since Khan bought the team in 2012, hiring Lamping to run the business side, the main goal off the field has been filling the stadium with fans.

Lamping said club seat and renewals are “on a good pace” but there’s work to be done to sell new season tickets.

“We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.

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