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Florida Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga announced six possible sites for a new $100M-$150M arena for his hockey team. Locations include two properties in Ft. Lauderdale, Miramar, Sunrise, Hollywood and Dade, near Joe Robbie Stadium. The new arena would be completed by 1998. Within the next 60 days, Huizenga is "expected to decide whether his planned hockey arena belongs on a site with room to grow in suburbia, or squeezed into a few acres" along the water in Fort Lauderdale. Huizenga says he must move his team out of Miami Arena because his lease runs out in '98 and he is losing money playing there. He has been looking for a site for his Panthers since his plans for Blockbuster Park fell through last year. Wherever the new arena is built, the local government will be asked to "provide financial help to build it," according to Huizenga Holdings spokesperson Jim Blosser. Blosser: "This is a community effort. Unless there is a show of community support, we don't think it is going to happen" (Karen Rafinski, MIAMI HERALD, 2/16). LOOKING FOR BEST DEAL: Today's Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL reports that, "by shopping around, Huizenga may be playing the sites against each other to get the best deal." Many of the possible sites are offering incentives for him to build the new arena in their cities. Hollywood is offering a 25% rebate on city taxes, Fort Lauderdale has "assembled a panel of powerful business leaders to present its case," and others such as Sunrise, "are working behind the scenes to see how they can sweeten their deals" (Bendick & LaMendola, Ft. Lauderdale SUN- SENTINEL, 2/17).
Dallas City Council members "remain split" over whether to build a new arena for the Stars and Mavericks or renovate Reunion Arena. In a meeting on Wednesday, the council discussed the pros and cons of renovation and construction -- with some members saying that talk of renovation "is further slowing down negotiations." A "slight majority" favors building a "new state- of-the-art downtown facility," estimated at $141.1M. Renovation costs range from $22.3M to $117.8M (Sylvia Martinez, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/16). ARLINGTON SEEKS ARENA: A group organized by local business and civic leaders in Arlington, TX, is planning to collect 25,000 signatures by mid-March and present them to Mavs Owner Don Carter and Stars Owner Norm Green. The petition will ask the owners to "seriously consider Arlington for the arena site if efforts to strike a deal with the city of Dallas fail" (Karen Lincoln Michel, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/16).