Lot J project inches forward

Lot J project inches forward
The proposed $500 million Lot J project includes a Live! Arena entertainment district, a 200-room boutique hotel, a 300-unit residential tower and an office building.

A half-billion-dollar project that will transform a parking lot in the downtown sports complex area into a soaring mixed-use development is getting some traction this first quarter. The demolition of the Hart Bridge offramps is set to begin sometime soon, and the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) has given the go-ahead for soil and water testing.

City leaders say the testing is a positive sign of more development to come for the much-anticipated mixed-use project headed in part by Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan.

The project is referred to as Lot J because it’s to be constructed on what is now TIAA Bank Field’s Lot J parking lot on the southwest corner of the station. The proposed $500-million Lot J project is to include a Live! Arena entertainment district, a 200-room boutique hotel, a 300-unit residential tower and an office building in between Bay and East Adams streets. Khan’s company, Iguana Investments, has partnered with Baltimore-based Cordish Companies to develop the project.

Lot J project inches forward
Lot J project inches forward

Developers got the OK for the testing in late October, and DIA Executive Director Lori Boyer said she saw the testing as a good sign for the project, which the City is trying to nourish and grow.

“(The testing) will facilitate the project coming out of the ground more quickly and it is an indication that the development team is willing to spend money on design and engineering even though we don’t have the final documentation approved by the council,” Boyer said. “They are moving forward, and they are paying these people to do that, so it is not purely hypothetical, this proposed development. We hear some of that, but here is an example of them putting concrete funding in for them to move the project to the next step.”

Khan spoke about the project during the 2019 Jaguars State of the Franchise. “If it was easy, it would have been done probably 50 years ago. Obviously, it is something even way before my time, there have been many attempts made, unsuccessfully. But I think it’s very, very important, and we are committed more so than ever. Things change, we look for a different way to get it done – the vitality, the energy, the economic growth, the difference making, all of that really belongs here,” he said.

Jaguars’ President Mark Lamping said that the project was expected to begin in 2020 and would take 18 months.

“It’s something that’s necessary, and it’s something that the time is now,” Lamping said. “We can’t continue to wait. We have talked year in and year out, that we’re only going to be as strong as downtown Jacksonville. Through the partnership with [Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry], and his staff, hopefully we can get this going and get cranes visible in downtown Jacksonville for the first time in a long time.”

By Jennifer Edwards
Resident Community News

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