Design & Development

Jaguars shed further light on ‘Stadium of the Future’ plans

Images: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have said they will seek to pursue a two-year continuous renovation model for TIAA Bank Field under the ‘Stadium of the Future’ vision, while the NFL franchise has also set out the potential temporary homes it is assessing.

The Jaguars last month unveiled eye-catching conceptual designs for its Stadium of the Future project, which will see TIAA Bank Field undergo major renovation work. The project, nearly three years in the making, is designed to inspire a “transformation” of Downtown Jacksonville and secure the Jaguars’ future in Northeast Florida.

The Jaguars have since held a series of Huddle Up Jax events, where residents and fans have been able to learn more about the Stadium of the Future designs. The team has now issued a 99-page report following these gatherings, which includes answers to the FAQs that came up, along with further renderings of the scheme.

The Jaguars said one of the most “spirited debates” during the Community Huddle process was the renovation approach – a two-year “continuous renovation” process or a four-year “stop and start” renovation process.

The team said: “The biggest difference between the two alternative approaches is the cost of the renovation and the potential displacement of Jaguar games. The two-year process is the least expensive approach but will require Jaguar games be played at an alternative location(s) for two NFL seasons.

“The four-year ‘stop and start’ renovation will allow the Jaguar games to be played in the stadium while under renovation but will increase total costs by $190m (£148.1m/€170.8m). The Jaguars believe the stadium renovations should proceed in the most efficient, least disruptive, and least expensive manner.

“To this end, the Jaguars recommend the two-year process but acknowledge this will likely be a part of the negotiations with the public sector.”

The Jaguars note that ultimately the NFL and NFL owners by a 75% majority must approve any renovation schedule and temporary location for games. The latter aspect was also said to be a hot topic amongst Huddle attendees.

In the event Jaguars games must be played temporarily at an alternative site(s), the franchise said it has considered several alternatives, which it has divided into two categories – ‘nearly NFL ready’ or ‘temporary alternatives’.

Under the ‘nearly NFL ready’ category, the Jaguars has placed University of Florida, Gainesville; and Camping World Stadium, Orlando. In the ‘temporary alternatives’ category come Hodges Stadium, University of North Florida; Baseball Grounds, Jacksonville; and Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach.

The team said: “Like the two vs. four-year renovation process discussions, these two different categories have important trade-offs. The ‘Nearly NFL Ready’ options are the most cost efficient but result in games being moved out of Jacksonville.

“The ‘temporary alternatives’ during the two-year stadium renovation process require significant investment to get the facilities to NFL standards but (in the case of the University of North Florida and the Baseball Grounds options) will keep Jaguar games in Jacksonville during the two-year stadium renovation process.

“In addition to the increased expense, the University of North Florida and Baseball Grounds solutions identified would only provide 30,000 seats.”

The Jaguars’ current lease deal at TIAA Bank Field, its home since 1995, is due to expire in 2030. The team said the length of a lease extension will be influenced by the agreed upon stadium renovation plan, adding it would expect the lease extension to “mirror the expected useful life” of the renovated stadium.

The Jaguars said: “Based on our proposed plan, we would expect the useful life of the renovated stadium to be not much shorter than you would expect from a new stadium.”

The Jaguars outlined that the Stadium of the Future project, which includes the renovated stadium, mixed-use development outside the stadium and the connector between the St. Johns River through the Sports Complex to the Outeast neighbourhood is estimated to cost a total of $2bn. The stadium renovation alone is estimated to cost between $1.3bn and $1.4bn.

The Jaguars added: “This cost estimate assumes the stadium renovation is done in a continuous fashion over two seasons beginning with the 2026 NFL season. If the project starts later than February 2026 and/or the renovation is done over four seasons, the cost of the stadium renovation will increase.

“To protect the current price estimate and have the stadium renovation completed in time for the 2028 NFL season, we will need to have an agreement with the City of Jacksonville by the second quarter of 2024. Missing this deadline will not necessarily kill the project but it will result in significantly increased project costs.”

Titans stadium project secures milestone decision

In other NFL stadium news, Nashville’s Metro Sports Authority yesterday (Thursday) approved the issuing of $760m worth of revenue bonds to help finance the construction of the Tennessee Titans’ new $2.1bn home.

The Titans are responsible for $860m of stadium funding, which includes a $200m contribution from the NFL, and any cost overruns, while $500m will come from a contribution from the State of Tennessee.

The remaining $760m of the $2.1bn budget will come from the revenue bonds issued by the Metro Sports Authority to be repaid through levies such as hotel and stadium sales taxes. This is the largest public spending contribution on an NFL stadium to date.

Mayor John Cooper said, according to The Tennessean: “We’re building a world-class asset for Nashville without relying on the city’s general fund or any general-obligation debt. So, with your (the Sports Authority’s) help, Nashvillians are getting a $2.1bn domed stadium paid for entirely by the team, tourism, the state and users of the East Bank campus.

“And we, Nashvillians, will be owning that domed stadium. We’re keeping the Titans here without making taxpayers foot the bill.”

Construction has already begun at the new stadium site ahead of its intended 2027 opening. The Titans in May named TVS as Architect of Record (AOR) for the stadium project. As AOR, TVS will work in tandem with the Design Architect, MANICA, to lead the design team through the completion of the stadium design and subsequent administration of construction activity.

Metro Nashville Council in April issued the final approval for the 60,000-capacity enclosed stadium set on the city’s East Bank. The plan was passed by a vote of 26-12, coming three weeks after the Metro Nashville Sports Authority, the owner and landlord of both the Titans’ current Nissan Stadium and new venue, unanimously approved the agreement.

The new stadium agreement, initially agreed last October, includes a new 30-year lease and non-relocation agreement between the team and the Sports Authority. Groundbreaking on the new stadium is expected to begin in early-to-mid 2024, following the 2023-24 NFL season.