Negotiations for renovated Jaguars stadium described as puzzle with 15 moving pieces

Mayor Deegan says the process is moving on schedule after a report to City Council by the lead adviser on her negotiating team.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 12:10 a.m. December 14, 2023
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
A rendering of the renovated "Stadium of the Future" for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
A rendering of the renovated "Stadium of the Future" for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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A new long-term lease, a relocation contingency and agreements on parking revenue and a minimum number of home games are part of a lengthy list of elements under consideration for a complex deal between the city and the Jacksonville Jaguars on a renovated stadium for the NFL team, a lead adviser for Mayor Donna Deegan told the City Council.

Mike Weinstein

“Fifteen pieces of this puzzle are all moving on their own schedule,” said Mike Weinstein, who is part of Deegan’s negotiating team. “Hopefully, they’ll come together.” 

On Dec. 12, Weinstein updated the Council on the status of the city’s efforts toward forging an agreement for the team’s proposed stadium and surrounding dining/entertainment district. The moving parts include: 

• Meeting with JEA to determine the extent of underground work needed to lay water and sewer lines, chilled-water piping, and related work, and also plan renewable-energy and resiliency elements that would open up grant money for the work. 

• Determining the cost of the project. The Jaguars gave a rough estimate of $1.75 billion to $2 billion for the stadium and adjacent district at the outset, with the team seeking a 50-50 split with the city on costs. “They’re about 30% designed, which means they need to go quite a bit further before we really have a sense of the cost of the different components of the renovation,” Weinstein said. 

• Negotiating a lease. The current 30-year agreement was finalized in 1993 and is set to expire after the 2029-30 season. A new deal would need to cover responsibilities for maintenance, costs for game-day security and traffic control and a range of other issues. Weinstein said the city was aiming for the new lease to incorporate the Miller Electric Center practice and training facility, the Daily’s Place entertainment venue and perhaps the Daily’s Place Flex Field. 

A rendering of the renovated Jaguars stadium shows is surrounded by buildings that are part of and entertainment district. To the south is the Four Seasons Hotel now under construction.

• Determining the cost split on the surrounding entertainment district and what’s feasible for the city to fund. “When Jags put out pictures (renderings), there were lots of buildings all over the place around the stadium. We’re working through that and we’re being realistic as to what we can do and can’t do,” Weinstein said. 

• Establishing a minimum number of home games. Weinstein didn’t offer a number. The team has been playing at least one home game in the London area for several years and in 2020 proposed playing two home games there. Those plans were halted by the pandemic. This season, the team played one home and one away game overseas.

The weight room inside Miller Electric Center, the practice facility for the Jacksonville Jaguars adjacent to Everbank Stadium.
City of Jacksonville

• Forging a parking agreement. Weinstein said a parking deal would likely need to be updated frequently and would probably be separated from the main stadium deal. 

• Finalizing a structural analysis of the current stadium. 

• Agreeing on a relocation contingency that would cover damages to the city if the Jaguars move to another market.

• Analyzing the revenue stream and expenses of the existing stadium, which would be used to predict the numbers for the renovated stadium. 

• Negotiating a separate community benefit agreement that would cover team contributions for nonprofits, development of the Eastside neighborhood, Downtown and other areas ancillary to the stadium. 

• Exploring financing options for the city. 

The city is meeting with university officials about the annual Florida-Georgia game as well as Gator Bowl officials.
City of Jacksonville

In addition, Weinstein said the city was meeting with the universities of Florida and Georgia and with the Gator Bowl to find out their requirements for the stadium and to discuss new contracts. Both contracts are set to expire after the 2025-26 football season.

A timeline issued by the Jaguars would see construction in 2026 and 2027, with the new stadium opening in 2028. 

Speaking to reporters Dec. 13, Deegan said the process was moving as scheduled toward putting a framework for a deal in place this coming spring. 

“I feel really comfortable that we have a great team in place negotiating but also that the Jaguars are negotiating in good faith,” she said. 

“And so I think we’re going to get to a good agreement. And my hope is we’ll get there by spring.”

How many home games the Jaguars would play in a renovated stadium is one factor that will be negotiated in any deal with the city.



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