SBD/November 8, 2013/Facilities

Jaguars' $63M EverBank Field Upgrades Moving Closer To Approval By City Council

EverBank Field upgrades would include a new fan zone with fountains
A $63M EverBank Field upgrade Thursday "moved closer to the end zone" after Jacksonville City Council members "cleared the way for a final vote next week," according to David Bauerlein of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan, who "appeared at a special City Council meeting to make a pitch for the improvements," would pay $20M. The city would "shoulder the remaining" $43M by "issuing debt and repaying it with hotel bed tax money already going each year for stadium work." Council members before the 13-1 vote "raised questions about whether the Jaguars are committed long-term to the city, what the 'water features' will be in the proposed new fan zone, and who would get revenue from the advertisements flashed across the gigantic video boards slated for the stadium." Khan "spoke briefly to the council." He said his goal is a "sustainable franchise locally and also a world-class attraction that would draw economic power to Jacksonville." Jaguars President Mark Lamping said that improving EverBank Field is "critical to generating local revenue that's essential to the team's long-term financial successes." Lamping said that the team "ranked No. 2 in the NFL for local revenue" upon inception in '95. He said it now ranks "29th or 30th." Bauerlein writes to create a "fan zone at the north end zone side of the stadium, the construction would remove a big chunk of seats." The city then would "have to install about 7,600 seats" for the Florida-Georgia college football game to "fulfill requirements with the universities for at least 82,000 seats." The Jaguars originally said the new fan zone would have “pools.” But Jaguars attorney Paul Harden said that the “'water features' would not be swimming pools." He said that the zone instead "would have fountains" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/8).

CARPE DIEM: In Jacksonville, Ron Littlepage writes under the header, "Shad Khan Is Investing In His New Hometown." The $63M renovation is an "opportunity to be seized." The money for improvements "will come from bed tax money that can only be used" at EverBank Field. The improvements "will help bring other events and football games to Jacksonville" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/8).
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