Jacksonville City Council defeats Jaguars’ Lot J deal
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is a major proponent of Lot J. Photo via A.G. Gancarski

Stadium entertainment zone didn't have the votes.

The world’s largest scoreboards at the stadium didn’t show who hit the red and who hit the green button for the Lot J deal on Tuesday night in Jacksonville.

No, the tally was on more modest monitors in the rundown City Council chambers.

The deal ultimately fell short, a 12-7 vote falling one shy of the necessary 2/3 supermajority, and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Jaguars owner Shad Khan took a shocking loss unimaginable for that mayor and that franchise in previous tries.

“Unfortunately, the deal won’t move forward,” Curry tweeted, noting that the “legislative body spoke.”

“We pulled the plug on Lot J. It’s dead,” Jaguars President Mark Lamping told media.

Opposition to the deal came from a disparate group of resisters, including City Council President Tommy Hazouri, Finance Chair Matt Carlucci, and Republicans Danny BectonAl Ferraro and Randy DeFoor, and Democrats Garrett Dennis and Joyce Morgan.

Democrats Reggie Gaffney and Brenda Priestly Jackson stumped heavily for the bill, but the real key was Garrett Dennis, who had feuded with Curry for years, pushing the red button.

“Let’s face it. The people don’t want this deal. The people don’t want Lenny Curry’s poorly negotiated deal,” Dennis said.

Dennis, routinely shredded by the administration and its allies, scored a victory over the Mayor on one of the biggest votes of this era in Jacksonville, one that the Mayor’s Office expected to go its way up until it didn’t.

The proposed entertainment zone at the Sports Complex would have come with a hefty city obligation, with upwards of $245 million on the project, including $50 million on a Live! Entertainment Venue, nearly $93 million on infrastructure, and the $65.5 million breadbox loan.

For Jacksonville, this deal was one in a series of balloon payments required to keep the Jaguars, a “free agent team” by the reckoning of team president Mark Lamping.

The big enchilada had seemed to be stadium renovation. But with Lot J at least on pause, questions as to the franchise viability going forward are very real. And in the meantime, the optimistic talk about Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer is tempered.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    January 13, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Future of the Jags in doubt? LMAO…that might be the case but it has nothing to do with lot J or Mark Lamping. How many those people crying into sports radio shows this morning have ever been downtown to support local businesses? Have they ever heard of Volstead, Wolf & Cub, Chamberlain’s, or 1904 Music Hall?? Did these small local businesses receive “breadbox” loans or a $65M grant??? How many visitors are gonna walk from the Omni to Lot J at night?

    If Shad Khan wanted Lot J he could’ve come down here to pitch it last nite in the middle of a crime wave & pandemic. Talk about tone deaf. Instead he gives his sales pitch on his yacht to local officials and makes them do his dirty work. Or he could have made some concessions to the deal Lenny Curry “negotiated” on our behalf. Maybe waiving that grant to make it an actual loan? People aren’t as stupid as you think we are…we know that a “breadbox” loan is not a loan. We saw what the drawings looked like for the amphitheatre & what we actually got. We understand that “halfsies” for Shad means more like 70/30 taxpayers. And for what? A BW3’s, a stage, & empty office space…smh. Give me a break. How bout telling us the truth about what this project is gonna cost us and what it’s gonna look like when it’s done i.e., the amphitheatre? We all remember JEA & we don’t trust Lenny to have our best interests at heart.

    I salute the Jax 7 for having a backbone & saying enough is enough.

  • Gee Ford

    January 13, 2021 at 10:11 am

    G.Dennis for mayor

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 13, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    Looting Lenny loses again! Thank you!

  • Karma

    January 13, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    How did you like me last night Sonja??? I gave Lenny a earful didn’t I.. this is Seber

  • No More Khan

    January 17, 2021 at 3:33 am

    Next on the Curry Khan agenda is the Shipyards development. Another boondoggle. It will have to be stopped as well. Khan is worth over $7,000,000,000. Why can he not fund his own projects? His yacht is worth 200,000,000 alone. Sell it and develop the Shipyards with your own money. So, when the next hurricane hits Jacksonville, the taxpayers will not have to bail you out once more. Where the shipyards project will be, will be underwater.

Comments are closed.


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