The Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair released conceptual renderings for a future fairgrounds in West Jacksonville adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center on Normandy Boulevard.
Fair President and CEO Bill Olson said in an email April 29 the organization will close on the sale of the Downtown fairgrounds property with Jacksonville Jaguars affiliate Iguana Investments Florida LLC when the new facility is complete.
Neither party has provided a purchase price.
“We are unable to disclose any details of the agreement. We will close when the new fairgrounds is complete,” Olson said.
According to Olson, the fair hopes to complete the new facility in 2024 with proceeds from the sale of the Downtown fairgrounds to pay off the construction costs and expenses of relocating.
Olson said the designs are conceptual and will mostly likely change, but they illustrate what the fair is considering for its next home.
Iguana said April 28 the company entered into an agreement to purchase the fairgrounds.
“We have entered into an agreement with the Jacksonville Fairgrounds to purchase the fairgrounds and are supporting the fair in its move to a new location that is more aligned with its agricultural roots,” an Iguana spokesperson said in an email April 28.
“Once the fair completes their relocation to the new site, our immediate plan is to convert the entire property to surface parking to support Jaguars games and other events at the sports complex. Removing the existing fairgrounds buildings will allow for the parking capacity at the site to increase by more than 50 percent.”
Iguana is the development arm of Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan. The company is developing the proposed $321 million Four Seasons-hotel anchored project at the former Kids Kampus park on the Northbank riverfront.
The 14.1-acre Downtown fairgrounds site at 510 Fairgrounds Place, north of 121 Financial Ballpark and northwest of TIAA Bank Field, has been home to the fair since 1990 when it moved from the Gator Bowl property, now TIAA Bank Field. The fair says on its website it has operated since 1955.
The Duval County Property Appraiser’s website shows the two fair parcels had a combined assessed value of $8.156 million in 2021.
The announcement of the sale came as the city General Government Awards Committee heard presentations April 28 from three engineering and consulting teams competing to design and build-out the site infrastructure for a new fairgrounds site adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center on Normandy Boulevard.
City Council earmarked $15 million to help relocate the fairgrounds out of Downtown when it approved Mayor Lenny Curry’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan in September 2021.
Olson said April 28 that plans for the new fairgrounds include a 40,000- to 60,000-square-foot event and expo center; administrative offices; a warehouse-style storage facility; and an event stage able to accommodate multiday music and entertainment festivals.
There also would be a multipurpose barn that Olson said would be used for the livestock and agricultural activities and be built on the adjacent city-owned Equestrian Center property.
He said the fair leadership is scheduled to meet April 29 with the Northeast Florida Equestrian Society, the nonprofit operator of the Equestrian Center, to continue talks about the barn.
The site also is near Cecil Commerce Center.
The fair is working with Scherer Construction of North Florida LLC and Kasper Architecture + Associates Inc. to design and determine the cost of the facilities it wants in a new fairgrounds, Olson said.
According to the CEO, the fair association is negotiating with the city to lease 80 acres to build a new fairgrounds with access to another 60 acres for future expansion.