Donna Deegan ‘is good’ with Jaguars stadium district being off the table in current negotiations

Aerial view of the Jacksonville Jaguars Stadium during sunrise.
The district will be discussed after a stadium deal is completed. The area's CRA status complicates the matter.

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan’s Office is offering more context about stadium negotiations, endorsing a bombshell declaration by her chief negotiator that the deal will be stripped down compared to the Jaguars’ ambitious 2023 proposal.

“Yes, she is good with it,” said spokesperson Philip Perry, regarding the removal of the stadium district component from negotiations.

Negotiator Mike Weinstein said last week the team and the city have “never had a serious conversation about the property” around the stadium, in part because it’s in a federally designated Community Redevelopment Area (CRA).

Perry affirmed this read, saying that going forward with components beyond the stadium would unduly complicate talks.

“Because the location is in a CRA, the city would need to competitively bid the adjacent property, which would significantly complicate and delay the overall deal. It isn’t realistic to include the development around the stadium right now and meet the necessary timeline for a deal. The Mayor does still want to create a sports and entertainment district, and we will explore that after the stadium deal is completed.”

The Jaguars’ original pitch of the cost share was for the city to pick up 2/3 of stadium renovation costs amounting to anywhere between $800 and $934 million, but with owner Shad Khan footing most of the bill for development of the district around the stadium.

The sports district development would have been largely funded by Khan, with the city obligated to spend between $75 million and $100 million according to the Jaguars’ proposal.

The team wanted sports district development to begin in January 2025, according to the proposal advanced to the Lenny Curry administration last year, a year before the stadium renovation was slated to begin.

As Florida Politics reported yesterday, Deegan in comments to WJCT seemed supportive of a Weinstein proposal to fund stadium renovation costs with pension fund assets, guaranteeing the city’s eternally challenged retirement funds a AAA-rated income stream. She said that would keep the financing “all in the family.”

The Weinstein proposal assumes interest rates will stay high, and he said that if rates declined, the city could simply refinance the debt on bond markets if that was a better deal.

A.G. Gancarski

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


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