SBD/October 3, 2013/Facilities

Jacksonville Mayor Wants Hotel Tax To Fund City's Share Of $63M EverBank Field Upgrades

Jacksonville's City Council still must approve the financing for upgrades
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown yesterday released an EverBank Field financing proposal that would see hotel guests "end up paying" the city's $43M contribution to a $63M renovation, according to a front-page piece by David Bauerlein of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Brown's proposal would "allocate some of the bed tax to pay off debt for the large-scale changes at the stadium." The city would "install the 'world’s largest' video boards at the end zone sides of the stadium, seven LED board displays around the stadium, and a fan zone with swimming pools in the north end of EverBank Field." Brown and the Jaguars "unveiled the stadium makeover in June, but Brown didn’t fill in the blanks on the financing" until yesterday. Jacksonville's City Council still "must approve the financing arrangement," and one question facing the council is "whether the cost of the scoreboards and fan zone will squeeze out funding for a long list of other maintenance needs at the stadium." Brown said that in addition to "enhancing the fan experience for Jaguars games, the renovation will support the Florida-Georgia game and the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl, while boosting the recruitment of other sports and entertainment events." Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan "would pay" $20M for the improvements (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 10/3). In Jacksonville, Michael Clinton reported if Brown's plan is approved, construction "would start" in January '14 and finish by mid-July of that year. Gator Bowl Association President & CEO Rick Catlett said that the improvements will "help the city win its bid for a college football championship as well as hosting more neutral site college football games in the future" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 10/2).

BENGALS WANT NEW SCOREBOARD: In Cincinnati, Sharon Coolidge notes the Bengals have "asked Hamilton County taxpayers to buy a new high-definition scoreboard for Paul Brown Stadium" at an estimated cost of $10M. The team's lease specifically says that if new technology -- including a scoreboard -- is "installed in 14 other NFL stadiums, Hamilton County taxpayers must buy the same thing for Paul Brown Stadium if the Bengals request it." The Bengals under their lease could "buy a scoreboard and bill the county for it" if the county refuses. Bengals VP Troy Blackburn "made the request in a Sept. 20 letter to Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman, asking that the scoreboard be ready for use" by the '14 NFL season (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/3).
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