City hires law firm to handle Jaguars stadium negotiations which are expected to start this month

While the Jacksonville Jaguars are gearing up for another preseason game, the city is now gearing up for contract talks to renovate the stadium and surrounding areas.

Mayor Donna Deegan’s administration announced Tuesday it has hired Chicago-based law firm Sidley Austin LLP to represent the city in forthcoming negotiations, which could end up being a $2 billion deal.

Contract negotiations are expected to start by the end of the month.

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Sidley has represented other NFL cities like Buffalo in its $1.5 billion stadium deal with the Buffalo Bills and will now take on the task of working with the Jaguars to iron out a deal.

The city has set aside $2 million in the budget to pay Sidley, but the contract does not have a set amount, a city spokesperson said, and the firm will be used on an as-needed basis.

Mayor Deegan has said she will do this with a three-prong approach:

A financial team made up of her top staffA team of city lawyers to look over the dealOutside negotiators that know how to deal with the NFL (Sidley)

The plan is to have a outline of where negotiations are headed by October, but a deal may not be in place until early next year, and it will take the city council’s approval before any money is spent.

The lavish plans for the “stadium of the future” and the surrounding area have a total price tag of over $2 billion, and the Jaguars want the city to pay for about half.

RELATED: City Council approves $150K to hire former Jags exec to consult on stadium renovation negotiations

One area that will be impacted is the Eastside and people living there have already noticed changes. And some homeowners have concerns about losing property.

MORE | Mayor: Most don’t want to spend public money on stadium upgrades, but most don’t want to lose Jags

“I’m excited about the contract talks, excited about the continued partnership with the Jaguars. We’d like to see some types of benefit agreement for the Eastside and the communities in this process of negotiations with the Jags and the stadium of the future,” said Suzanne Pickett, head of the Historic Eastside Development Corporation. “I’d like to see additional resources or percentage of certain resources that are allocated for that area actually be expanded down into the Eastside community further down A Philip Randolph Boulevard as well.”

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