The Jacksonville Jaguars, a team known for their less-than-stellar record, are going big on their home turf. At their April 19th State of the Franchise event, the team announced that they would be partnering with local firm Iguana Investments (run by Jaguars owner Shad Khan) and national developer The Cordish Companies to realize a $2.5 billion, 4.25-million-square-foot mixed-use neighborhood around their Jacksonville, Florida stadium, master-planned by Beyer Blinder Belle.
The proposal to redevelop the area around the Jaguars’ EverBank Field, the formerly-industrial Jacksonville Shipyards, is an expansion of the team’s plans first presented during the 2017 State of the Franchise. It also marks the second time that Khan has won the right to build in the area after the city’s Downtown Investment Authority scuttled Iguana’s original plans for the site in 2016.
The Jaguar’s latest plan seeks to tie the downtown Shipyards to the rest of the city. To do that, the development team wants to drop a new neighborhood on the waterfront. The proposal would bring office space, a “Live!” arena (Live! is used to brand Cordish venues), dining options, a hotel tower, a parking garage to offset the loss of the lots, and “luxury residential living” on top of the parking lots between the stadium and the St. John’s River. While it’s early on in the development cycle, the renderings show a suite of towers clustered around the stadium, including a hotel building on the waterfront at least 15 stories tall.
However, the Jaguars may face a host of hurdles in building out the Shipyards. The project is slated to break ground on Lot J, the stretch between the Populous-designed Daily’s Place amphitheater and a detention pond to the west. The lot’s top four feet of soil is contaminated with petroleum from the site’s manufacturing past and currently capped with a clay wall and asphalt. Any digging in the area would need to be preceded by environmental remediation, and the sitemap released on Thursday leaves out the most heavily polluted sections of the Shipyards.
Complicating things further is that both the northern and southern sections of the site present their own set of challenges. Building to the north would mean getting approval from the city government and the military community to relocate a Veterans Memorial Wall to a new Veterans Park along the waterfront. Developing the southern portion towards the river would mean potentially tearing down an elevated ramp at the adjacent Hart Bridge, which would also require action by the city.
The project has been designed as a public-private partnership, but it remains to be seen how much the public will be paying for it. It’s uncertain when construction will begin and how long it will require, but as Cordish Companies Vice President Blake Cordish told Jacksonville.com, “Completing full build-out could take a generation.”