JACKSONVILLE – The indoor option appears close to reality.
That became apparent Tuesday afternoon following the team's annual Back to Football Luncheon, when Jaguars Owner Shad Khan answered questions about a planned indoor practice facility for the team.
"I think we've got a great plan," Khan told reporters early Tuesday afternoon at EverBank Field.
Khan said that plan would be a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility located outside the stadium's South End Zone area. Khan estimated the cost at perhaps around $30 million, with much of the funding provided by Khan and the Jaguars.
"We've been talking to obviously the City Council and the mayor to give them a sneak preview," Khan said. "I'm hoping we'll get that (a plan) out pretty soon. We're looking at the South end where the original practice facility used to be."
Khan said the goal would be to have the facility ready by the team's 2016 training camp.
"That's exactly what we're shooting for," Khan said. "I think this year we've been impacted obviously by the weather. I'd like very much for it to be done by next year."
The Jaguars' original practice fields were outside the stadium beyond the South end zone. That area is now a fan entertainment pavilion, with the team's three outdoor practice fields now located outside the Northwest corner of the stadium. The team never has had an indoor facility.
Khan said with he/the team paying for most of the indoor facility, "red tape" and delays could be minimized.
"Hopefully, a minimal amount of tape," Khan said.
Khan in three years as Jaguars owner has helped fund not only a state-of-the-art locker room facility at EverBank Field and state-of-the-art training and workout facilities, he also along with the city funded the state-of-the-art video boards at both ends of EverBank. The video boards, the largest of their kind in the world, were installed in 2014.
Images from the Back to Football Luncheon, which was held on Sept. 1 at the Terrace Suite.
Khan on Tuesday said the proposed practice facility would be "more than a practice facility."
"There would be other components to it that would make this more of a destination," Khan said. "Our goal is that the home games we have, we want them to be like a weekend where we can regionally attract people to downtown Jacksonville."
The Jaguars and Khan in February presented a proposal for a dramatic overhaul of the Jacksonville Shipyards near EverBank Field. An indoor practice facility was part of that proposal. Khan said he would "like very much" for the proposal to gather momentum, adding that he believes the Shipyards project "is vital for Jacksonville to get definitive development for all the reasons that have been elaborated on."
Khan said the City Council has been supportive of the project, as has recently-elected Mayor Lenny Curry, adding that the proposal must "go through a process."
"I'm not sure when the Shipyards will be done," Khan said. "It's not a timetable we control, just like we don't control the weather. So, to me what's really important is we focus on things we do control. We're going to work with the city, and whatever the city is doing for downtown Jacksonville, we want to participate. If somebody else wants to do it, that's great, too."