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City leaders expect hundreds of jobs after London visit

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Updated: 11/04/2013 11:47 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars may have suffered a big loss in London, but they weren't the only team representing the River City across the pond.

Business leaders from the City of Jacksonville and the JAX Chamber opened up about closed-door meetings that took place during the trip.

Action News was the only local station to gain access into one of the Kia Oval, where Mayor Alvin Brown and Chamber leaders pushed Jacksonville's jobs agenda.

Jerry Mallott, president of JAXUSA, says the city's "economic A-team" met with a number of international companies focusing in logistics and technology, financial services and manufacturing.

A delegation from Jacksonville including JAX Chamber President/CEO Daniel Davis, Mallott, Brown, City Council President Bill Gulliford and Office of Economic Development Director Ted Carter made the weeklong trip to London alongside the Jags. The partnership with the team, and more specifically with owner Shad Khan, is something the delegation says was vital for forging deals.

"Taking the team to London put us on a world stage that we don't get very often," said Mallott.

While business leaders remain tight-lipped about specifics, Mallott said we could see up to two, maybe even four projects announced within the next six months. That would generate an estimated 500 new jobs to Jacksonville.

"But the trip, I believe was a very successful trip," said Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. "It really speaks to the power of partnership as we laid out a clear vision and about taking Jacksonville to the next level."

The Jacksonville Jaguars are slated to play four games over the next four season on the international gridiron.

Brown said he and JAX Chamber representatives don't plan on waiting around for the next NFL kickoff to close a deal. Brown plans to make up to a couple international trips each year to keep the ties made in London alive. The earliest trip could come as early as June.

Mallott stressed that brokering a major, international business deal takes time and doesn't happen overnight.

"You don't go over and meet someone for the first time and close a deal," said Mallott. "So projects may have been moving along but this world stage gave us an environment where we were in the closing mode in several cases."

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