JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Lot J Development Project, as of right now, will not happen.
City Council needed thirteen councilmembers to approve the Lot J project. Only twelve approved the bill following months of discussions after it was announced by the City and the Jaguars.
The City Councilmembers that voted against the bill were Councilmembers Garrett Dennis, Joyce Morgan, Danny Becton, Al Ferraro, Randy DeFoor, Matt Carlucci, and Council President Tommy Hazouri.
The deciding votes were Councilmembers Dennis and Morgan. In the days leading up to the meeting, Dennis did not say whether he was going to vote yes or not to the bill. Last week he created three amendments that would put money towards the Eastside Neighborhood and help minority-owned businesses have a space in the development. However, he made his vote known tonight.
“The people don’t want Lenny Curry’s poorly negotiated deal. I do not appreciate being asked to cosign a deal created in the dark shadows of secrecy. I do not appreciate being asked to cosign a deal negotiated by the person that citizens and taxpayers do not trust. And I especially do not appreciate hearing that my efforts to try and put lipstick on this pig through the creation of an economic development trust bond are being viewed as a trade for my vote,” Dennis said.
Jaguars President Mark Lamping says the deal is dead and they will move on and focus on the Shipyards project. That project will be going through the Downtown Investment Authority.
“I think it’s time to turn the page on Lot J, you know, so we’ll we’ll leave that behind,” Lamping said.
When it comes to the future of the Jaguars, Lamping says they will still focus on investing in Downtown, just a different area.
“There’s three things we have to do. We have to put a better football team on the field. We have to come up with a long term stadium solution and downtown needs to realize more of its potential. That’s just not Lot J,” Lamping said.
Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted his disappointment after the vote happened.
The vote comes after major public disproval. UNF conducted a poll in early December where they found 54 percent of survey-takers opposed the project. OurJax, a watchdog group which has previously criticized the JEA Scandal of 2019, and the Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP, publicly opposed the project.
The deal was a $450 million development that includes two residential buildings with 250 units, a hotel with 120 rooms, 35,000 square feet of Office Space, an entertainment venue, and 1,200 parking spaces.
When the deal was initially proposed, it included space for two residential buildings with 400 units, a 150-200 room hotel, two 350-space parking garages, 7,500 square feet of street level retail, a 750-space parking lot, 40,000 square feet of Class A office space, and an entertainment venue.
The project would have cost taxpayers $233 million.