By: Mike Mendenhall
The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee took a procedural motion Oct. 26 to advance $208.3 million city debt funding for Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s proposed Lot J project.
The 7-0 committee vote comes as City Council President Tommy Hazouri told Daily Record news partner WJCT 89.9-FM that he intends to introduce legislation Oct. 27 to approve the city’s portion of the mixed-use development’s estimated $466.6 million total cost.
Hazouri declined to introduce Ordinance 2020-0648 on Oct. 13 because Mayor Lenny Curry’s staff still was negotiating a parking agreement for Lot J, causing him to consider the bill incomplete.
He told First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross on Oct. 26 that a Council of the Whole hearing on the Lot J bill, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 5, could last four to five hours.
“I want the public to know that we are not going to stop until we’ve exhausted every question and get every answer from the Jaguars and the developers and the (Curry) administration, or Council auditor and general counsel,” Hazouri said.
Council Finance Committee Chair Matt Carlucci and Vice Chair Randy DeFoor will hold a virtual town hall meeting on the Lot J proposal at 5 p.m. Oct. 29. Representatives of the Jaguars development team will give a presentation and the public can participate.
Khan wants to build offices, apartments, a hotel, retail and entertainment venues on parking Lot J, west of TIAA Bank Field Downtown. The project is a joint venture of the city, Jaguars affiliate Gecko Investments and The Cordish Companies of Baltimore.
Gecko and Cordish formed Jacksonville I-C Parcel One Holding Company LLC for the proposed development agreement with the city.
Previous estimates placed Lot J’s cost at $445 million, but the budget transfer sheet approved by the MBRC put the total at $466.6 million, which includes potential cost overruns.
The $208 million in city debt financing will be used to pay $50 million of the proposed $100 million Live! District entertainment venue that will be owned by the city.
The city would pay for up to $92.8 million in site construction costs for infrastructure improvements, including surface and structured parking.
The final $65.5 million will finance a 50-year no-interest loan to the developer.