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Huizenga Holdings plans to hire Fort Lauderdale-based Centex-Rooney Construction Co. and IN-based Huber, Hunt & Nichols to build the new $212M Broward County arena, according to the MIAMI HERALD. Huber, Hunt & Nichols built the Montreal Forum and America West Arena. Meanwhile, a "rough sketch" is beginning to emerge, with more detailed plans scheduled for delivery to the Broward County Commission August 27. The arena is expected to hold 19,452 seats for hockey, 20,494 for basketball and 18,594 for football. Construction is set to begin November 15 and be completed by August '98 (Marilyn Marks, MIAMI HERALD, 8/6).
Workers are putting the "finishing touches" on the CoreStates Center in preparation for its official August 31 opening -- a World Cup of Hockey game between U.S. and Canada (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 8/7)....The Montreal Forum will be converted into a "Times Square-style" entertainment complex with 30 movie screens, a virtual-reality fun center and theme restaurants (Montreal GAZETTE, 8/6)....The Panthers will use DVCPRO digital equipment at Ericsson Stadium (Panasonic)....Bears President Michael McCaskey was "unabashedly envious" after watching the Bears' preseason opener at Ericsson Stadium: "You see how important this is in the NFL now and for the future" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/4). ....The Greater Plant City, FL, Chamber of Commerce has offered to guarantee advertisements on all Plant City Stadium billboards to induce the Reds to maintain their spring training home there. The club's lease expires at the end of '97 (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/4)....A MD Circuit Court judge rejected arguments that the Prince George's County Council acted illegally in allowing a new Redskins facility on land zoned for residential property (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/3).... Pawtucket, RI, and the Triple-A Red Sox have agreed to a 10-year lease at McCoy Stadium, which will be renovated. The deal includes two five-year options that could keep the club at McCoy through 2019 (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/3).
Despite a September 3 vote, backers of a Hillsborough County half-cent sales tax increase to help fund a new Bucs stadium do not seem to be "working up much of a sweat," according to the TAMPA TRIBUNE. Community Investment Tax committee members have only recently opened a campaign HQs and, while they "might have a strategy," they "hedged" when asked what it is. Boosters have said they intend to "rely heavily" on direct mail appeals to voters instead of large rallies (Henderson & Koehn, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/7). ONE VOTE YES: It "appears likely" the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce will announce its support for the sales tax increase. If the tax hike is approved, the Plant City government expects its share over 30 years to be close to $40M (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/5).