Discussions over a proposed Jacksonville Armada stadium project are taking a step forward, following a key approval from a city committee.
Under owner Robert Palmer, the Armada is proposing the construction of a new stadium on land near the Downtown Sports Complex that is currently owned by the city. Construction of the stadium would be privately financed by Palmer, with the facility to serve as the anchor of a redevelopment initiative that includes somewhere in the range of 25,000 to 175,000 square feet of commercial office space and 100-200 parking spaces.
The proposal took a step forward Tuesday, when the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee signed off on a land-option agreement with the club, advancing the discussions to the Jacksonville City Council. The Armada has been fielding a U-23 squad in the National Premier Soccer League and a new stadium could help the organization eventually move up to a higher level of soccer, though team president Nathan Walter has emphasized that the club has not committed to a future league. More from the Florida Times-Union:
The planned venue, to be built on land acquired from the city, would seat a minimum of 2,500 fans, though Walter said that a maximum capacity of 10,000 could be considered.
The next step for the proposal will be the City Council. That proposal calls for the city to execute an option agreement with RP Sports Investments, under Armada owner Robert Palmer, for 5 acres of vacant land less than a mile north of the sports complex.
If approved, RP Sports would pay the city $5,000 to enter the agreement, which confers the option to acquire the land — located north of the expressway to the Mathews Bridge — for a nominal cost of $1….
An Armada franchise playing in a new downtown stadium would be in position to compete once again at a higher level than the NPSL. Walter said the club has yet to commit to a future league, saying that the Armada is evaluating multiple options.
Among the current terms, construction would have to launch by January 31, 2024 and reach substantial completion by July 31, 2025. Should the concept move forward, the stadium would be located near a complex that features several professional sports venues, including TIAA Bank Field (home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars), Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (MiLB’s Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp), and VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena (ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen).
Rendering via Robert Palmer Facebook post.