Jaguars president: Fairgrounds property ‘critically important’

City has budgeted $15 million to relocate the  Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair out of Downtown.

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As Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s development proposals Downtown move forward, the Jaguars and Iguana Investments Florida LLC are talking with the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair board to buy the fairgrounds next to the stadium.

The Jaguars are developing a Four Seasons hotel-anchored development at the Shipyards and a football performance center near the TIAA Bank Field.

The fair is working with the city possibly to move to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in West Jacksonville, city Chief Administrative Officer Brian Hughes said in June. 

There is $15 million in the city’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget to help relocate the fairgrounds out of Downtown.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping said what happens to the property is “critically important” to the Jaguars’ operations because it provides 800 game-day parking spaces.

He said relocating the fairgrounds would improve the position for both the Jaguars and the fair.

“I think the fair will be a far superior experience for their customers by moving into a better-designed fairground,” Lamping said.

If the Jaguars controlled the Downtown property, Lamping said the organization would double the property’s parking capacity to 1,600 spaces.

“As far as what the long-term plan would be, you know, tell me how everything else is going to develop around Jacksonville and I’ll give you the answer,” Lamping said.