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Mayor Curry ‘Not Concerned’ Lot J Will Impact Jacksonville’s Ability To Handle Other Projects

This rendering illustrates a view of the proposed Lot J project.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS / VIA JACKSONVILLE DAILY RECORD
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This rendering illustrates a view of the proposed Lot J project.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Friday afternoon, “I’m not concerned,” about the $245.3 million cost the city will be assuming if City Council approves the Lot J entertainment and retail project proposal next week.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan's affiliates would pay for the remainder of the $450 million development that would be built on the Lot J parking lot area next to Daily's Place and TIAA Bank Field.

Taking reporter questions during a virtual news conference, Curry said, “my administration and the council before this one - and now this one - has been incredibly responsible.”

He pointed out his administration and the City Council implemented pension reform, which he said freed up hundreds of millions of dollars a year in the city budget.

“Not only have we made investments in our neighborhoods. We have increased our reserves over the years. We have adequate reserves to handle a crisis or emergency, like we have with hurricanes, like we are now with COVID-19,” Curry said.

City Council is expected to vote Tuesday, Jan. 12, on whether to approve the partnership between the city, Khan’s Gecko Investments LLC and Baltimore, Maryland-based The Cordish Companies.

WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record reported a City Council of the Whole voted 15-4 Thursday, Jan. 7, to advance the proposal to the full council.

Watchdog group OurJax and the NAACP are among the organizations that have come out against the Lot J Deal, as it's currently structured.

A December University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab poll found most Jacksonville voters were opposed to the deal, although some modifications have been made to the proposal since the poll was conducted.

Curry also said Friday that’s he’s working with a couple of council members on some much need infrastructure improvements in the city.

“Stay tuned. We are going to invest in all of Jacksonville, without burdening the city in the future,” Curry said.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.