Mark Lamping says an investment in the Jaguars stadium will bring a renaissance to Downtown Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Florida - December 18, 2020: Aerial view of Tiaa B
A deal could have the same impact the Lightning had on Water Street in Tampa.

Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping said there’s a short line of individuals willing to invest $1 billion into Downtown Jacksonville. It consists of one man: Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.

“It may or may not come as a surprise to you but one thing that comes when you get an NFL team is a really rich person who owns that team,” Lamping told Florida TaxWatch members.

The sports executive made the case to the fiscal watchdogs that an investment in sporting facilities brings numerous benefits to the community making them. Some of those are intangible. Some come in the form of massive development investments in urban communities.

Lamping pointed to situations in other Florida communities that serve as both models and warnings.

He noted that Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has paid to completely develop the downtown area surrounding the Amalie Arena. After buying the sports franchise in 2010, Vinek partnered with Cascade Development and began work on redeveloping land around the sporting venue. Vinik earlier this year sold his shares in the Water Street Tampa development, which had already constructed the Tampa Edition hotel and other revitalizing projects.

“He built the hockey rink and the hockey arena wasn’t the end of the plan,” Lamping said. “It was really just the start.”

He also discussed Camping World Stadium in Orlando, a publicly owned facility now in need of some $800,000 in renovations. But the facility doesn’t have a private partner like the Jaguars or Lightning.

“Orlando has no partner (to) really address the problem with their aging, publicly owned status,” he said.

While sports stadiums get classified by critics as corporate giveaways, he said the private investment that comes with it can prove at least as valuable as the presence of a professional team.

A positive partnership is one of the goals for the Jaguars, according to Lamping, as they continue negotiations with Jacksonville over stadium renovations. He said an important piece to remember is that Khan wants any forward motion to include a revitalization of Downtown Jacksonville, with the assumption that will benefit his interests and those of the city.

He’d like a result similar to the Tampa model, and which would leave Jacksonville better than when the team charged into town. He said there are “great opportunities” and that many people believe Jacksonville “can have a vibrant downtown” and enjoy a similar renaissance to what is ongoing in downtown Tampa.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


10 comments

  • Larry Gillis, Libertarian (Cape Coral)

    November 30, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    Libertarians firmly believe that — if these mega-projects are such obvious money-makers — then the Free Market will make the necessary investments. The taxpayers need risk nothing. Government should not intrude in economic calculations like these, because it is none of their business and (besides) they will probably screw it up.

    Vote Libertarian.

  • Seber Newsome III

    November 30, 2023 at 4:45 pm

    let those who go to the games, pay for the new stadium (edifice to the massive EGO of Shad the con Con). the person or family who cannot afford or does not want to go to a game and lives on moncrief , gets nothing from a new stadium, nothing. except their tax dollars being wasted. so many more important things to spend tax dollars on. Shad the con Khan, is spending $400,000,000 on a new toy (yacht). let him spend. his own money for the edifice to his ego

  • Chris

    December 1, 2023 at 1:06 pm

    In response to Seber Newsome III.

    I see your point. I can subscribe to the free market making the necessary investments, but I wonder two things. One, If the citizens do not partner in the venture then why would/should we be able to benefit from the outcome? Two, what is the family on Moncreif getting now? When was the last time you visited that area; it’s pretty barren.

    • Seber Newsome III

      December 1, 2023 at 8:16 pm

      Chris, I bet if a study was done, the city would would not be profitable from all we have invested since the Jaguars came to town 30 years ago. Khan is a con, period. He is bleeding the taxpayers, while the sails in his $400,000,000 yacht. One thing the family in the Moncrief won’t get , is new infrastructure, septic tank phase out, when the city has to put up $1,000,000,000 for Khan’s Edifice to his ego.. The city has all the leverage. if Khan does not want to pony up, tell him to leave

    • rick whitaker

      December 1, 2023 at 8:30 pm

      chris citizens don’t get anything. they buy overpriced tickets and concessions . if a person or company builds the stadium on their money, the citizens get tax money.

  • rick whitaker

    December 1, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    larry, you finally said something i agree with. i’m a left-wing progressive democrat, how could you agree with me?

  • Let's see

    December 4, 2023 at 11:53 pm

    lets see how the taxpayers feel when the Jaguars start losing and don’t make the playoffs, or lose in the first round. lets see if they want to spend a billion dollars on a new stadium????

  • Khan the con

    December 6, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    Has anyone asked Shad “the con” Khan, how he feels about Israel defending itself?? Does he support Hamas??? He is from Pakistan.

  • Sonja Fitch

    December 8, 2023 at 7:34 am

    Heard this before. Lol. As beautiful as it is downtown. It is downtown ! No answer from me. Just keep trying! The St John’s River ! Gorgeous!

  • well taxpayers

    December 10, 2023 at 5:50 pm

    well taxpayers, your Jaguars lost again, who knows they might not make the playoffs,,, you still want to hand over $1,000,000,000 to Shad “the con” Khan???

Comments are closed.


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