Jaguars Look To Upgrade Stadium; Move Ahead With Lot J Development
Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and President Mark Lamping "stressed the importance of improving the fan experience while discussing future stadium renovations" to TIAA Bank Field during the team's annual State of the Franchise on Thursday, according to Phillip Heilman of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Khan: "The stadium has to be upgraded. I think that's our approach." Heilman notes fans seated on the east side of the stadium for 1:00pm ET kickoffs currently "have to endure baking in the sun, negatively impacting their game-day enjoyment." Lamping said that the Jaguars have "looked at various concepts to provide relief for the east-side ticket holders." While there is no formal plans or renderings, Lamping said that he "feels choosing a project well before the Jaguars' lease ends in 11 years is critical." Heilman notes since '95, the Jaguars and Bills are the "only franchises that have not built a new stadium, have a new stadium under construction, or had at least" $300M in renovations. The Jaguars' "gate revenue for their seven games in Jacksonville last year were the seven highest during the regular season since Khan bought the team" before the '12 season. However, the Jaguars "average general admission price remains lowest in the league." Meanwhile, the team announced it will now "handle the back-end duties (ticket sales, game operations, etc.) for the lagging TaxSlayer Gator Bowl" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/19).
A LOT TO GO OVER: In Jacksonville, David Bauerlein in a front-page piece notes Khan is "eager to get started on adding another piece" to the city's skyline with an estimated $500M Lot J development next to TIAA Bank Field. The updated plan "still calls for an entertainment complex and a 200-bed boutique hotel, but it scales back on the office space." The development would now have "one 300-unit residential tower and one office building." Unlike what they have done in the past, the Jaguars "did not roll out flashy renderings of what the Lot J development would look like." Now, the "biggest unknown is whether the city will offer a financial incentives package, and if so, how much it will be worth" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/19). Lamping said that in terms of tenants, the team "has 'great interest' in the Lot J development from a hotel flag, but do not have any other tenants lines up aside from the Live! brand." Lamping added that depending on the market demand, the development team "might opt to build another residential building in place of the office building." It is "unclear when work on the site will begin" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/18).
BACK ON THE PITCH? Khan on Thursday said that he is "optimistic" a deal for Wembley stadium "could be back on the table soon" after he pulled his $790M bid to buy the stadium in October after recognizing the extent of the opposition to the sale. The English Football Association is set to replace CEO Martin Glenn with Chief Commercial & Football Development Officer Mark Bullingham in the fall. Khan said reviving his offer for the stadium still "has to make sense for the FA, but when that happens, I think it still is just as good a case" (AP, 4/18).