Thank you, Matt, and thank you, Randy, for the invitation to participate in your event this evening. It's an honor to have the opportunity to personally share our vision for Lot J and the future of Downtown Jacksonville. I know the details of that vision are as important to the residents of Jacksonville as they are to us. And, I'd really like to thank both of you and the entire City of Jacksonville staff for all you've done to make this town hall not only possible, but also accessible, given the continued challenges of meeting during these difficult times.
We have generously been given time at the beginning of this town hall to provide a project overview, and maybe even more important, I wanted to share with you our response to the most frequently asked questions we have received about the Lot J project, but not just that. There's been a lot of questions related to the Jaguars as part of this process, and I'd like to share our response to those questions that we've received. I also did not want to risk anyone having to go to the mute button on my microphone, so the majority of my presentation, in order to make it as interactive as possible, we've pre-recorded to fit this window.
So, with that, let's get started …
Hello and good evening from our Lot J project work room here at TIAA Bank Field, where I am privileged to answer a fundamental question that I imagine you all have … why are we focused on downtown development? First a little background, Shad Khan was introduced in December of 2011 as the new owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He made it clear then, and he makes it clear now, that he is committed to making the Jaguars and NFL football a staple of life in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida for generations to come. As an aside, I was privileged to join the Jaguars two months later, in February of 2012, and can confirm that Shad's commitment as I just described is every bit as strong as today as the day I started. So, how do we secure our future? We believe there are three keys:
Most important, fielding a Jaguars team that the people of Jacksonville and all of Northeast Florida are proud to support. We have not delivered the performances and results that we envisioned, or that our fans deserve. We know that. We are reminded of it frequently. We will not relent in our efforts, and we appreciate everyone's continued support and faith, which hopefully one day will be rewarded.
A downtown stadium that meets the needs of our fans and guests, and the standards of the many stakeholders who will use it. The Jaguars are just one stakeholder. There is also the City of Jacksonville, the Gator Bowl, the University of Florida and the University of Georgia, national governing bodies who bring events here such as the United States Soccer Federation, concert promoters who deliver shows like the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and others.
That's why one of the first things Shad did was to work with the City of Jacksonville on many stadium improvements that help us keep what we have, and bring events like the Stones and the world champion U.S. women's national soccer team to Jacksonville. The addition of Daily's Place and the Flex Field further enhanced the Sports Complex, delivering more than 40 new events to downtown each year.
All of this contributes to the third key, and the subject matter at hand. Downtown Jacksonville realizing its full potential. And for that to happen, we need a project … a moment … that will serve as the catalyst to spur development, growth and activity that will redefine and re-energize our downtown core for generations to come. And that's Lot J.
Over the past several weeks, we've fielded dozens of questions on the project from all parts of Jacksonville, and that most certainly includes residents. No constituency is more important that the people who call Jacksonville their home. So, what I'd like to do is take residents – and everyone – through the most frequently asked questions and hopefully address them to your satisfaction. Here we go.
1. What is the project?
This will be a mixed-use development on the current site of parking Lot J at the Sports Complex and the adjacent stormwater retention pond. The project will include:
· Two residential buildings with a total of 400 for-rent residences.
· A 150-250 room hotel.
· 75,000 square feet of street-level retail.
· 40,000 square feet of Class A office space.
· A 700-space surface parking lot.
· Two 350-space parking garages.
· And a 100,000 square-foot entertainment center that will include multiple bars and restaurants, as well as indoor and outdoor entertainment facilities.
2. What is the estimated total value of the project?
We certainly expect this first phase of the project to be at least $450 million.
3. What is city's investment?
· The total direct public investment is $152.7M, which includes no more than $50M for the City-owned Live! district, $12.5M over 20 years in a REV grant to support the residential, $12.5M over 20 years to support the hotel, and $77.7M in City-owned infrastructure.
· In addition, the City will be providing a $65.5M loan to the Developer, which will be secured by the developer with a $13.1 million deposit into a trust account benefitting the City, resulting in an overall better outcome for the City than a traditional, non-refundable grant.
· The City will own the Live! district, the infrastructure and all parking within the Project.
4. What does the city get in return for the investment?
Jacksonville and especially our downtown will realize a boost to the local economy, jobs during construction and operations, a catalyst for additional development, the economic benefits associated with a growing economy and additional city-owned assets.
And, not to be overlooked will be the emotional and psychological pride that we can all experience from accomplishing something together that will be lasting and move our community forward.
5. What are the details of the $65.5M loan? Will the City collect interest on the loan, what is the amortization period? Why utilize this loan structure?
As opposed to a traditional nonrefundable grant, this solution provides municipalities like the City of Jacksonville with the opportunity to receive a return of proceeds. This $65.5 million interest-free loan results in a better outcome for the City than a grant that would have yielded no return of the city's initial investment. While a loan has a max term of 50 years, current financial projections show the city's investment will be returned in full by Year 33.
6. Who pays for cost overruns?
The partnership is responsible for all cost overruns. This city is completely protected.
7. How do we know the developer will fulfill its obligation?
The developer will provide a full project completion guarantee. The form of this financial guarantee must be approved by the city.
8. Does this project result in a loss of parking at the sports complex?
Lot J currently contains 1,400 parking spaces. This project will include 700 spaces on a surface parking lot and 700 spaces in parking garages integrated into the residential development. The city will own all of these parking spaces and will, for the first time, be able to retain parking revenue generated from Jaguars games from these parking spaces.
9. Will the project lead to other development?
We hope this project will be the catalyst that will result in additional economic impact through the development of nearby neighborhoods – not only the Shipyards phase to the south, but also to the underserved surrounding neighborhood.
10. What about The Shipyards?
The Shipyards continue to be a major part of our vision for downtown. But, to realize our goal of creating a dynamic new neighborhood, we must create a critical mass of office, entertainment, hotels and residences. The Lot J project will deliver all four of those at once, setting the stage for additional development.
11. Is it viable to build on this site, given the impact of climate change, rising sea levels and other environmental factors that create weather-related challenges?
The project will be designed and built to not only meet current sustainability standards, but to levels that engineering experts predict for the future. Topics such as flooding, storm surges and rising sea levels will be addressed. We are committed to steps that informs the community throughout the process and is compliant with or exceeds all sustainability and environmental requirements or best practices.
12. Are the Jaguars going to extend their stadium lease?
While the Jaguars' stadium lease is unrelated to this proposal, the Jaguars are an anchor to downtown and the centerpiece of this project. This project is dependent upon the Jaguars' presence to realize its full potential. There is no better evidence of Shad Khan's long-term commitment to Jacksonville than his willingness to make such a significant investment. The Jaguars have long stated that a vibrant downtown will contribute to the long-term health of the franchise.
13. Will the Jaguars stop playing games in London as part of this agreement?
Jacksonville is the home of the Jaguars. It has been the team's home for the past 26 seasons, and it will continue to be our home into the future.
The London game has been extremely important to the Jaguars and has also provided benefits to the Jacksonville community.However, theNFL controls the fate of all games played in London and the teams assigned to play in those games, and the Jaguars' current agreement to play games has expired. Any future decisions on London are on hold and out of the Jaguars' hands.
14. Doesn't this appear to be a "cookie cutter" development that is identical to what Cordish has laid out in other cities?
Not at all. The key to our project and other Cordish developments is to offer restaurant, bar, entertainment and retail options that reflect their home communities. In fact, that local component not only appeals to residents of that community, but visitors and tourists from outside the region as well. You will find a very strong mix of locally flavored attractions to complement the residential, office and hotel offerings, which will look and feel very much like Jacksonville.
15. What does this mean for the future of the stadium?
One of Shad's first acts as owner was to invest in stadium improvements, and he's done that consistently. Daily's Place and the Flex Field followed. Now he is making a substantial investment in Lot J and, in doing so, making a big bet on Downtown Jacksonville. How we fare as a downtown can ultimately affect how we look at the future of the stadium with the City of Jacksonville and other stakeholders. We believe a vibrant downtown can have a very positive effect on the stadium, which is why our focus today is solely on Lot J.
16. Why are we subsidizing Shad Khan?
For any project to provide long-term benefits to the community, it must first be economically viable. A project of this scope does not happen without a private-public partnership.
And, a project like this requires a lead investor and visionary, and we are fortunate to have both in Shad Khan. Private developers could not and cannot do this alone. If they could, it would have been done by now.
17. Now … the last question … why is this a good idea?
Jacksonville's downtown needs this. It needs life, promise and a reason for residents, businesses and visitors alike to consider Downtown Jacksonville as a destination. Without a landscape-changing project like this, our downtown will be stagnant at best – and that's unacceptable given all we have going for us with the river, accessibility, cost of living, no state income tax and a virtual blank canvas from which to work.
And finally, let's not overlook the jobs this project will create, both during construction and once we're open for business.
Let's not forget the boost this project will provide to Jacksonville firms that will play a role during every stage of the process – especially minority- and women-owned companies that are overdue for their opportunity.
And, lastly, let's not underestimate the emotional and psychological lift that we all can use … to see cranes downtown … to know someone who is working on the project, or to be that person … and simply to have something we can all look forward to.
This is our chance to make the most of everything we have … and everything we can be.
PRE-RECORDED VIDEO CONCLUDES
Before I turn the meeting back over to Matt and Randy, I wanted to address one more question.
18. Why should we do this now during an economic recession created by the pandemic? Should we wait until it's over?
From our perspective, most would agree one of the keys to improving the quality of life for Jacksonville residents is the creation and expansion of job and career opportunities. This project is about creating opportunities that will help us address the economic recession created by the pandemic. By waiting in the past, downtown Jacksonville has missed many opportunities. Jacksonville will rebound. This project can be the start of that rebound, creating jobs and a new downtown that will serve Jacksonville and all of its residents soon and well into the future.
To close, I came into this evening's town hall with one goal in mind – to share information. I know this is a long process.
I also know that the primary purpose of town hall meetings is to give residents a platform to share their views. As such, as my active participation in this event comes to a close, I wanted to once again thank both Matt and Randy for the invitation to participate and anyone who took the time to be here. I'd also like to recognize City of Jacksonville IT department for their professionalism and support this evening.
Thank you very much.