Jaguars Get City Approval For Upgrades To EverBank Field, With No Lease Provisions
The Jacksonville City Council last night voted to approve a $63M EverBank Field renovation project that will bring "colossal video scoreboards and a new 'fan zone'" to the stadium, according to a front-page piece by David Bauerlein of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Per the deal, the city will pay $43M "by using hotel bed taxes," while Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan will pay the remaining $20M. The team said that construction will "start in January after football season, and it should be finished in July." New 300-foot scoreboards will be erected at "each end zone side of the stadium," and seven other video boards "would be put up around the stadium." The upgrades also will include "a 42,000-square-foot fan zone that would be a gathering place with 'water features' such as fountains and palm trees." The fan zone "would take out existing seating." Approval of the deal came after the City Council rebuffed a motion by member Stephen Joost that "would have required the Jaguars to repay" the city's $43M cost if the team were to move from the stadium. Joost said that he "supports making improvements to the stadium." But, noting this week's announcement by the Braves, he said that some NFL franchises also "have moved to stadiums in the suburbs." Joost's attempt to add a provision for $43M in lease-breaking damages "died on a voice vote" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/13). The Jaguars' lease expires in '30, and Joost said that he is "upset that the council didn't ask for an extension of the lease or recalculate how much the team would have to pay if it broke its lease." Joost: "We get absolutely no assurances whatsoever in exchange for the $43 million. ... I think we should get a little back in return" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/12).