A key component of Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s $441 million sports complex/Shipyards Phase 1 development plan unveiled last week is building a new football "performance center."
The performance center plan shows just how fast things can change in the NFL. The Daily’s Place Flex Field that the Jaguars use as an indoor practice facility is less than five years old.
When the city and Jaguars agreed to a 50-50 split on the estimated $90 million cost of building the flex field and adjacent Daily’s Place Amphitheater, the flex field was pitched as something the team needed.
Now the team is proposing to turn the flex field into a community amenity and move forward with another practice field investment.
The football performance center would be a hybrid facility focused on team operations and public access. The center, which would be built next to the stadium near Gate 2, would include public art, public viewing stands, concession areas, a retail store, public meeting space, locker rooms, training and recovery areas, medical support facilities, a weight room, dining facilities, coaches and scouts’ offices, a draft room and two full-size grass practice fields and a full-size indoor practice field.
WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union reported the complex that would be built outside the stadium has an estimated cost of $120 million and that Khan is asking the city to split that 50-50 with him.
Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said on June 3 the proposed football performance center is about investing in the players: “The most valuable commodity of any organization is the players and how you invest back in the players. And that’s always been — for the last 30 years, I’ve always believed in that.”
Meyer told news media on June 3 that when he decided to accept the Jaguars coaching position he said, “'Let’s make this the destination place.' And Shad was all in.” Meyer was hired in January.
Khan’s previous development plan for Lot J, which the Jacksonville City Council voted down in January, made no mention of the need for a football performance center.
“I can’t tell you what went on before our conversations with Shad [Khan], but I can tell you that we spent an incredible amount of time on that, on that piece. And just the understanding of the vision that we have as an organization and that’s to give the players the best,” Meyer said.
Building the performance center would allow the team and football operations to move out of the stadium permanently and make it possible for stadium renovations to get started. Additionally, the center would mean Jaguars home games could still be played at TIAA Bank Field as the stadium is renovated.
Jaguars President Mark Lamping said during the team’s development plan presentation last week that the current Daily’s Place Flex Field, which opened in 2017, could be made available over 300 days a year for community use by turning over its management to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The overall Phase 1 project plan includes a Four Seasons hotel, marina and other amenities.
The Jaguars have launched a website called 1st Downtown Jacksonville with additional details about the plans.
Lamping is scheduled to discuss the overall project in further detail Wednesday morning at 9 on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross on WJCT News 89.9. The show is also streamed live on WJCT.org and in the WJCT app.
- WJCT News' Brendan Rivers contributed to this report.