After the Jacksonville Jaguars leadership released its latest plan June 3 to build the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at the Shipyards and a city-owned football performance center near TIAA Bank Field, team owner Shad Khan told city officials and reporters “we must expect better from Downtown.”
“My goal for Downtown Jacksonville is to be the envy of cities in the U.S. and elsewhere and amaze ourselves in the process,” Khan said at the announcement at TIAA Bank Field.
“We can reach that goal. In fact, we must.”
Khan, Jaguars President Mark Lamping and the team’s affiliated real estate development entity of Iguana Investments Florida LLC announced a $441 million Shipyards and football performance center development and a second phase that includes an orthopedic sports medicine campus in partnership with Baptist Health.
Lamping said Khan and Iguana propose the team and city each pay $60 million to build the performance center.
A preliminary term sheet between Iguana and the Downtown Investment Authority shows a request for $93.58 million in incentives for the first phase of the Shipyards. It would mostly be paid out after the project is completed.
The incentives include an up to $44.18 million Recapture Enhanced Value Grant — a multiyear tax refund — and a $28 million completion grant.
The remaining $21.4 million would come from city-owned property giveaways, marina improvements, environmental remediation, infrastructure and relocation of the Jacksonville Fire Museum and marine fire station.
Setting the stage
The football performance center, built on the northwest side of the stadium near Gate 2, would be a first step toward a “stadium of the future” for the NFL franchise.
Lamping said the facility would allow the Jaguars team and football operations to move out of TIAA Bank Field, permitting future stadium renovations.
The facility also would allow Jaguars’ home games to continue to be played at TIAA Bank Field during renovations, Lamping said.
In total, Lamping said the first phase includes the football performance center plus the 176-room and 25 residential-unit Four Seasons, a city-owned marina and a six-floor office building built on the vacant Shipyards property southwest of the stadium.
Phase one of the Shipyards investment would be $321 million and $120 million for the performance center.
Phase two of the Shipyards would focus on Baptist’s 42,000-square-foot orthopedic sports medicine campus, 15,000 square feet of street-level retail and a more than 200-space parking structure and possible residential component.
The Jaguars and Iguana did not provide a total cost of the second phase.
“I am confident we have the local leadership, spirit and commitment to revitalize Downtown Jacksonville in a manner that will make the world take notice while also serving the needs of the community and the people who make Jacksonville their home,” Khan said in a news release before the event.
Lamping said any deal with the city is contingent on the inclusion of a five-star hotel.
Khan wants to open the Four Seasons on the Shipyards site in early 2025 and have a spa, two restaurants, ballroom, meeting spaces and marina, according to the release.
The Jaguars leadership said it wants the hotel to cater to business travel, concerts at Daily’s Place Amphitheater and other events to the sports complex.
According to Lamping, Khan’s ownership of the Four Seasons in Toronto and relationship with the hotel flag is why the Jaguars are able to include the brand in the deal.
Jaguars leadership said in the release that it wants the performance center to open in summer 2023. It is needed because the existing Flex Field does not meet current NFL standards.
Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has mentioned the possibility of a new practice facility in media interviews this year, according to the Associated Press.
Lamping said the city would be allowed to use the Flex Field for local parks programming 300 days per year.
The Jaguars would sign a long-term lease agreement with the city that would make the team responsible for the ongoing capital, maintenance and operational costs of the football facilities.
The city currently pays for maintenance costs at city-owned facilities leased to the Jaguars, like the stadium and Daily’s Place.
In addition to two full-size grass practice fields, the 125,000-square-foot performance center will have locker rooms; team and positional meeting rooms; training and recovery areas; medical support facilities; a state-of-the-art weight room; dining facilities; coaches and scouts’ offices; a draft room; and public meeting space.
At the news conference, Meyer said he doesn’t want professional athletes to pay to go to cities like Phoenix or Dallas to train.
“I refuse to believe that this cannot become a destination place,” Meyer said.
“I believe if you create the best environment in the National Football League, which is our intent, my vision (and) our dream is to have our players to be part of this community.”
Khan wants the 116,000-square-foot class A office building in phase one to house the Jaguars’ business operations, affiliated companies and third-party tenants, the release says.
That could remove the corporate offices from TIAA Bank Field.
Phase one also includes a city-owned marina with a 6,500-square-foot support building that would house a dockmaster’s office, a ship store, a restroom with showers, and a food and beverage venue.
The performance center’s city-Jaguars financial split was the only piece of the team’s taxpayer-backed incentives request detailed at the news conference.
Lamping’s presentation said phase one would create 7,500 construction jobs, 1,500 permanent jobs and more than $200 million in private investment.
According to the term sheet, the city would receive a $1.20 return on every $1 it invests in the project.
The Jaguars said Khan’s plans do not include building on Metropolitan Park but the team will commit $4 million over 20 years to help maintain the riverfront public space, according to Lamping.
Previous iterations of Khan’s Shipyards proposal showed development on Metropolitan Park, but city officials and attorneys have not been able to secure rights from the National Park Service to relocate the 14.32-acre park designation elsewhere Downtown or in Jacksonville.
The land is restricted from private development by a 1981 National Park Service grant.
In its release, the Jaguars said the organization is supporting the nonprofit Jessie Ball duPont Fund and the city’s riverfront park and development study for Downtown.
The Jaguars’ $4 million donation to Metropolitan Park will be done through the city’s Private Park Adoption Program, according to the release.
The Jaguars also launched the website 1stdowntownjacksonville.com to update the community on its plans for the projects.