Another tense Jacksonville City Council ends without an L item vote


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – TIAA Bank Field J’s proposal to build a $ 445 million entertainment complex, the only topic of a tense Jacksonville City Council meeting Thursday, will be voted on no earlier than Tuesday.

Under the agreement, the city will invest $ 233 million in direct spending or loans from the city of Jacksonville to Jaguars owner Shad Khan, the developer of the Cordish Company.

The development deal was given a pilot foresight by the Downtown Investment Authority on Wednesday, but that wasn’t enough to convince skeptical council members to commit millions of taxpayer dollars in the deal, with some saying they didn’t get many of their questions answered.

After about 90 minutes of a four-hour discussion reviewing the proposal and a review by the council’s auditor and the Downtown Investment Authority, Councilor Aaron Bowman was ready to close the discussion and vote. This received a sharp response from Council President Tommy Hazouri and questioned the rules before the plan review continued.

The meeting later, Bowman and Hazouri had another exchange of witnesses:

Bowman: “Obviously a disappointing day for me today is the way you disrespected me and the council decides. I look back at all the favors you asked me to do and moved Mr. Dennis out of his office.

Hazouri: “You make too many claims, ask your question.”

Bowman: “Here you call the Sergeant Sergeant again. Will you do it again? Disappointing.

Hazouri: “Not so much as you. Not so much as you. Keep your personal opinion. Here are some decors. That’s it. You’re in class. Go ahead and tell me what you want.

In the first hour of Thursday’s meeting, the city council’s auditor told members the developer had made some concessions on parking garages, fees and costs, but continued to worry that the city would invest millions in the project before Cornish spent the money. The auditor shared the same concerns explicitly expressed by DIA, particularly that the proposal would cost an interest-free loan of $ 65.5 million, known to the industry as a bread loan.

The DIA, which was asked to review the plan last week, voted for city council approval on Wednesday, but with some modifications.

DOCUMENTS: DIA report on item J proposal | Issues / concerns of the Council’s Court of Auditors

Jaguars president Mark Lamping asked for the council’s vote at the last scheduled meeting of the year, Tuesday next. Hazouri postponed Thursday’s vote, deciding to devote the last half hour of the session to public comment, and postponed reviewing several amendments to the bill and reviewing additional documents until Tuesday at the earliest, raising the possibility of a spill until next year.

After the meeting, Hazouri said the deal could happen “even if they can pick up some differences and answer those questions within a reasonable time”.

– That’s not fair to this advice. Whether for or against, we deserve the answer. Said Hazouri.

Lamping was not satisfied, but had no choice but to play according to the rules of the council.

“I don’t know if we have a choice on this issue,” Lamping told News4Jax. – We’re not in control of the process. All we can do is focus on the things we control and continue to focus on everything to make sure Jacksonville remains an NFL city for generations to come. “

Mayor Lenny Curry said Thursday that the Jaguars never threatened to leave Jacksonville if the city was not approved if lot J was not approved. Curry’s chief of staff, Jordan Elsbury, said they would work together if the decision was delayed.

“What we can live with is that the council gets answers to every question. And if that timeline is okay, ”Elsbury said.

CONNECTED: Downtown Investment Authority Proposes Approval of Item J “Subject to Certain Conditions” | 54% of Jacksonville voters opposed concluding Lot J. | Watch Jennifer Waugh’s interview with Councilor Matt Carlucci

Speaking to the DIA board on Wednesday, Lamping stopped registering for the bread box loan reciprocity and expressed the city’s urgent decision.

“We spent millions of dollars to get to where we are right now.” And when you go through this process, the expectation is to know where the gate posts are. That doesn’t mean you want to score, but you know where the goal posts are and that there is a threat to move the goal posts, I just think that’s a bad message, ”Lamping said. “If the public investment is renegotiated and it claims that the public investment will be reduced by $ 65 million, the project will no longer be viable.”

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