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VIDEO: NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars Unveil Design for Proposed Stadium; Cost Could Hit $1.4B

Tue June 13, 2023 - Southeast Edition #13
Florida Times-Union

The NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars showcased the team's vision for a dramatic overhaul of TIAA Bank Field June 7 that would wrap it in reflective material, build a shade-delivering roof that fans have long requested, and make numerous other changes that team owner Shad Khan said would make it the Jaguars' long-time home and spur downtown development.

The rough estimate for the cost of the top-to-bottom renovation of TIAA Bank Field could be up to $1.4 billion, the Florida Times-Union reported. The city and Khan would share the expense if they can reach an agreement on the stadium and an accompanying extension of the team's lease for playing at the municipally owned stadium.

The Jaguars laid out a timeline that would have the rebuilt stadium ready for football in 2028. But any deal would require intense negotiations between the Jaguars and incoming mayor-elect Donna Deegan. Ultimate approval would be up to a new City Council taking office July 1 for four-year terms.

"It's a beautiful vision for economic revitalization," Deegan said in a statement after the team posted an animated video of its design. "Infrastructure, especially in our older historic neighborhoods, will be one of the key priorities of my administration. I look forward to the coming negotiations and a deal that is good for taxpayers [and] which keeps the Jaguars in Jacksonville for generations to come."

The city has financed renovations on a smaller scale at the stadium since it was built in 1995. The negotiations this time will have more at stake because the current lease for the Jaguars to use TIAA Bank Field will end after the 2029-30 season unless extended.

"There's going to be a lot of give and take, and the lease negotiations will be happening at the same time as the negotiations on the renovation," Jags President Mark Lamping told the Jacksonville news source. "We would not invest the amount of money that Shad [Khan] is prepared to invest in the city-owned building without a lease extension, nor would the city."

He said he expects the Jaguars, and the city will reach an agreement on the stadium and the lease.

Stadium Would Be City's Costliest Project Ever

The price tag to overhaul the stadium would be the most expensive civic project in the city's history, dwarfing the $350 million Duval County Courthouse complex.

A proposed memorandum of understanding between the city and Khan would establish a framework for future negotiations on a stadium deal.

Another document, first reported by Florida Politics, shows how that framework might work in terms of dollars put up by the city, the Jaguars, and Khan's development firm, Iguana Investments.

It shows an estimated cost of between $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion for the extensive improvements to TIAA Bank Field. In the example of how the city and Khan could split that cost, the city share would be 67 percent of the price, or a range of $800 million to $934 million. The Jaguars would foot the rest of the bill.

Compared to the cost of renovating the existing stadium, the investment summary says the estimated cost of a new stadium would be $1.9 billion to $2.1 billion.

Updated Stadium Could Be ‘Transformational' for City

Even a renovated stadium would create a brand-new appearance, based on renderings and the video illustrating the conceptual design by HOK, the Kansas City, Mo., architectural firm selected by the Jaguars.

The team released a four-minute video on June 7 that shows swooping animated views of what the "reimagined stadium" would look like inside and outside the venue.

Peter Broeder, a design principal for HOK, called it a "transformational opportunity" whose impact reaches into the rest of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

The most obvious difference is the addition of a roof that would protect fans from scorching sun in early-season games as well as rainstorms throughout the year. Broeder compared the "roof membrane" to the finish on sunglasses in how it will disperse sunlight throughout the interior of the stadium. It would be a fixed roof, not one that can be opened and closed.

The exterior of the stadium would be wrapped by a "first-of-its-kind mirrored material" that will provide an energy-efficient facade, according to the Jaguars. The stadium would not have air conditioning, but the Times-Union reported the material used in constructing the building would cut heat retention by 70 percent and lower temperatures by 10 to 15 degrees.

The reconstruction of the stadium also would open four corners of the building to create breezeways so more air can circulate through the building. Broeder said the construction will remove a large amount of the seating bowl "in a surgical fashion" for those four breezeways.

"We're going to be protecting [fans] from the sun and from the rain, but we're going to be maximizing air flow throughout the building," he told the Times-Union.

Jaguars' fans would enter the stadium by walking through a "subtropical Floridian park" on their way to the main concourse, which would be 30 ft. above the ground and have wide-open views of the St. Johns River and downtown Jacksonville, according to the team.

The stadium's capacity for NFL contests would be 62,000, with the ability to expand to 71,500 seats for college football games, plus more capacity for concerts. Currently, TIAA Bank Field holds 67,000 people for Jaguars games and up to 77,000 for college matchups.

Lighting and digital technology would enable changes in the stadium's appearance, adding to that part of the fan experience, the team said.

The stadium's concourses would be greatly expanded and have 13 new elevators and 32 new escalators, making it easier for fans to circulate around the stadium. The upper concourse would encircle the entire stadium.

Jaguars Hope Full Construction Can Begin in 2026

The "early work" for construction would start in February 2025 and full construction would kick off in February 2026, according to the proposed memorandum of understanding. Construction would finish in July 2028 — meaning that for two seasons, the Jaguars would not play home games at TIAA Bank Field.

Lamping said possible alternative sites during those two years would be to play Jaguars home games at the University of Florida's stadium in Gainesville or Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

The two-year construction timeframe would require the annual Florida-Georgia rivalry games to play elsewhere in 2026 and 2027 but then come back to Jacksonville in 2028. The city's Gator Bowl also would move to a temporary location during the renovation.

"From the Jaguars perspective, we would like to see it done in the least disruptive, shortest, least expensive fashion, and that would be to do it over two years," Lamping said. "But again, that's just us. There are many other people that need to weigh in on this."

He added that the NFL owners, who must approve any agreement between the city and the Jaguars, will be looking at the history of what the local share of funding has been for recent stadium deals in other small-market cities.

In the schedule put forward by the Jags, the team and the city then would look to have a final agreement hammered out by March 2024 and NFL approval by the following May for how to proceed with the stadium plan.

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