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-
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).