Jaguars owner Shad Khan has a vision for the area around the stadium in which the team plays its home games in Jacksonville. Jacksonville does not share that vision.
On Tuesday, the Jacksonville City Council defeated the so-called “Lot J” proposal for development of the area around TIAA Bank Field. The proposal needed a 13-vote supermajority; the effort failed, 12-7.
“We pulled the plug on Lot J,” Jaguars president Mark Lamping said, via News4Jax.com. “It’s dead . . . . [I]t’s time to turn the page.”
The proposal hinged on a $152.7 million public investment that now won’t be made.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan presumably won’t be happy about the development. In October, he made crystal clear his belief that the Lot J proposal was critical to the growth of Jacksonville.
“Jacksonville’s ceiling is high — remarkably so; that’s particularly true here in downtown,” Khan said at the time. “It’s imperative that we have the ambition and the vision to answer this calling once and for all. If Jacksonville is to be everything we can be, this project is just the beginning and it’s time we begin.”
It won’t be beginning. And it could impact in a negative way the relationship between city and team.
“This is part of our commitment to the city of Jacksonville — to have a vital downtown,” Khan said in October. “I said this eight years ago when I was introduced as owner of the Jaguars, that I was going to look for every way to make NFL football viable here. This is just one part of the strategy.”
That part of the strategy has been scrapped. Lamping said that the team will focus on development in the shipyards.
Outsiders will now fairly wonder whether the team will focus instead on playing more of its games in London.