Talks between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville pertaining to a plan to construct a new stadium has begun, and the team held a community huddle event at the St. Johns County Convention Center at the World Golf Village on Sept. 18.
The community huddle was one of about 20 that the Jaguars have held as a way to gather fan feedback about the initial design renderings and plan.
According to Jaguars president Mark Lamping, there are two tweaks that have already been made to the proposed plan as a result of the community huddles.
“One really deals more with pedestrian flow and public safety, and that is the concept of adding pedestrian bridges that will allow you to cross Bay Street without having to stop traffic,” Lamping said. “The second piece is that people are really curious about the parking, but then what follows after that is that if they start using mass transit or ride share, they don’t want to lose the tailgate experience.”
One of the solutions Lamping said has been tossed around has been creating a tailgating zone area for those who arrive via mass transit to take part in.
He also stated that they are aware that NFL fans do not want parking garages, so they are going to attempt to avoid those the best they can when figuring out how to handle the loss of parking spaces around the stadium due to the size of the new structure and the landscape around it.
Another major talking point following the Jaguars home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs was the hot conditions that fans and players faced with a 1 p.m. kickoff in September.
Lamping agreed that the heat was difficult for all those involved and that the team’s stadium plans have deeply considered the weather in Florida, especially early in the season by designing a tinted roof that would cover the stadium while still allowing fans a view of the sky and flyovers but lowering the temperature by an estimated 10 degrees for those sitting in the stands.
Whether or not season ticket holders would see an increase in their pricing once the project is complete was also asked during the event.
Lamping informed the roughly 20 people in attendance that yes, season ticket members are likely to see an increase in pricing, but the goal will remain to keep the cost as reasonable as possible among the industry standard.
However, during the two years the construction would be taking place, in which the Jaguars would likely be playing in a different venue in the likes of Gainesville or Orlando, Lamping assured that season tickets holders would not be required to travel to those cities in order to keep their standing.
Instead, a season ticket holder’s status will be frozen during those two years and be intact once the stadium is completed and games resume in Jacksonville.
The maximum capacity of the stadium is projected to be 72,000 for events such as the Florida-Georgia Game or concerts but would probably seat 62,000 on average for Jaguars games.
The idea was to have an extra 10,000 seats built in along the upper deck east and west sides of the stadium that can be hidden with a video board that is made of a flexible material and would be able to be folded and stored away to reveal the seats for events that require them.
“It’s (video board) removeable and can be tucked up into the roof very easily,” Lamping said. “It’s one of the great challenges we gave to the architect, because each year for the Florida-Georgia Game, the City of Jacksonville brings in all these temporary seats, which is disruptive for Jaguars games. This way you get those extra seats with the push of a button.”
The new stadium would also have a proposed doubling of the width of the main concourse, which would allow for more room to add more food options around the venue, which is something they have heard expressed by fans over the years.
As a result, they how to have different food choices with each corner of the stadium having a specific cuisine featured, such as Southern, international, coastal and urban as part of the food districts on the floor plan of the stadium.
The amenity updates will also include 32 new escalators, 13 new elevators and 14 new restrooms that will be renovated and expanded in size.
“We want it to be very efficient for people to move around,” Lamping said. “It will make it a lot easier for our fans to not only get into the stadium, but also get out of the stadium. It’s all about making the experience as comfortable as possible.”