Council auditor: Jacksonville return on investment for Lot J would be 44 cents per dollar
The city’s investment of up to $233 million in Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s proposed development on Lot J near the football stadium would generate a return for the city of just 44 cents in revenue for each $1 the city puts into the project, according to City Council Auditor Kim Taylor.
Taylor gave her report to City Council during a special meeting Thursday about the Lot J development that saw the proposed deal variously described by council members as a “sweetheart deal” for Khan’s development team or as a “once in a lifetime” chance for Jacksonville to propel downtown development.
That return on investment of 44 cents per dollar is far short of the city’s typical goal of getting at least $1 in return for each $1 of city incentives for an economic development deal.
The city’s Office of Economic Development reached a strikingly different conclusion that said the city would get $1.69 for each $1 it puts into the Lot J project, which would feature an entertainment district, mid-rise residential buildings and a hotel near TIAA Bank Field.
City Council member Randy DeFoor said based on talks she’s had with national developers and experts who have done similar projects with NFL franchises, the terms for Lot J are a “sweetheart deal” for Khan and his partner The Cordish Companies.
“It’s a fat deal,” she said. “Sweetheart deals are great, but we want a married deal, and the only way this project makes any sense at all is if the Jaguars stadium lease is extended for at least 25 years and they commit to a certain number of home games.”