‘Legacy’: Jacksonville commits $775 million to Jaguars stadium renovation

jaguars stadium
So much for the relocation rumors.

The deal is done, and the future of the National Football League is secured in Jacksonville for decades to come.

That’s the takeaway after the City Council voted 14-1 (with two abstentions) to approve spending $775 million renovating its NFL stadium, money to be matched with $625 million from the Jaguars.

The deal does not include the original concept of the community benefits agreement sought by the Donna Deegan administration, with that condition struck by the City Council and some elements held in abeyance until consideration of the proposed budget from the Mayor’s Office, which will be introduced next month.

Still, the reconstituted deal allocates an additional $56 million in city money (beyond the $775 million) for riverfront parks and improvements on the flex field, which abuts the stadium. The Jaguars will contribute $119 million over 30 years for community benefits.

Mayor Deegan thanked the Council for getting the deal through on this “aggressive schedule,” particularly over the last month, even as she said she wanted the rest of the CBA to be approved ultimately.

“We can reach historic, generational process when we focus and work together for a singular goal, together,” Deegan said.

The agreement comes one day after Charlotte agreed to $650 million for its own stadium renovation for the Panthers, a team that joined the NFL in 1995 just like Jacksonville’s squad. But whereas the Panthers’ owner will only contribute $150 million personally, the Jaguars will mostly match the city contribution, with the exception of $150 million in deferred maintenance that the team and the city agreed was the taxpayers’ responsibility.

Council members explained their votes.

Republican Ken Amaro said he’d gotten emails to vote “no,” but said the bill represented a chance for this to be a “legacy” City Council, and that the Council auditors vouched for the numbers.

Democrat Jimmy Peluso said there was “no way he was voting ‘no’ on the bill” and said he wanted to be on the Council Special Committee to find a way to bring in community benefits later this year. He specifically wants a commitment to earmark money for the Eastside, and the Jaguars said that $75 million would be allocated to the long-suffering neighborhood near the stadium.

“Our commitment to the Eastside remains unchanged,” Jaguars President Mark Lamping contended.

“We are the envy of the sports community today,” said President Ron Salem, alluding to difficulties with stadium negotiations in other cities that never manifested in Jacksonville’s process.

“We scored a touchdown,” Salem added.

One lone legislator opposed the stadium scheme, however.

Republican Mike Gay, who had recused his contracting company from participating in the project, expressed concerns about the “future finances of the city,” painting the deal as lopsided in the favor of the Jaguars and suggesting that funding it through the Better Jacksonville Plan 1/2 cent sales tax ran contrary to what taxpayers authorized when they voted for that referendum a quarter-century ago

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    June 25, 2024 at 8:20 pm

    What a blessing for the community…for better or worse. Too bad Rory couldn’t be there to vote on it. Must be out there having one of his 48 annual BBQs aka training. He talked aiot about this stadium deal but when push came to shove he’s just absent.

    • Frankie M.

      June 25, 2024 at 8:22 pm

      At least Gay went on the record. If you’re scared say you’re scared Rory.

      • MH/Duuuval

        June 25, 2024 at 10:26 pm

        AWOL again? He getting paid?

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          June 26, 2024 at 12:08 pm

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  • Larry Gillis, Libertarian (Cape Coral)

    June 25, 2024 at 9:10 pm

    If this is such a good idea, let private investors do it. This form of subsidy must end.

    FYI, the Libertarian Party of Florida says (in its platform):
    ” … 3. Government Favoritism. …
    We reject favoritism in any form to any industries, companies or other organizations. We oppose all grants, loans, loan guarantees and investments in business by any State or local government and all regulatory schemes that create privileges or disadvantages to any business or industry. …”

    Now, you know. Live Free or Die.

  • MH/Duuuval

    June 25, 2024 at 10:24 pm

    Interesting program on Stereo 90 this morning about city’s resiliency study, just released, but the question of how resilient the stadium site is was finessed by the guest from COJ.

  • Nope

    June 25, 2024 at 11:06 pm

    Remind me to donate to Mike Gay’s next campaign. The rest deserve steaming piles of dog poo, including the consistently inconsistent and AWOL RD, to commemorate their vote for selling out the city for generations. Bad deal. Bad faith. Bad form by all parties involved. Jacksonville should change its name back to Coward-ford. LEGACY indeed.

    The only thing these people care about the East Side is to force people out of there. Think what amazing things could have been accomplished with this amount of BORROWED and EXPENSIVE money instead of billionaire welfare, and here’s another billion to heap on the pile of now insurmountable unfunded liabilities with taxpayers holding the bag. Oh, and more spending to come, since the mayor’s office doesn’t believe in math. But they do believe in making us all pay for it.

    Do your happy dances now, people, because you’ve just ordered a dinner you can’t even eat, and the check comes at the end. I’m sure all the mayor’s office and city council will be enjoying their skyboxes and thousands of dollars of catered food and drinks for all 8 days out of the entire year this thing is supposed to entertain people on taxpayers’ dime –taxpayers who do not enjoy these benefits and who can’t even go, but will be paying for generations to come even while everything falls apart around them and costs keep rising and anyone with a brain flees Duval county. But don’t worry, it’s going to fix all of Jacksonville’s problems. Right? Right? Is this thing on?

    Thanks to FP for consistent coverage.

Comments are closed.


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