Broward got land rights in exchange for $86m Panthers subsidy, doesn’t know what to do with them

Remember back in December when the Broward County commission gave Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola $86 million in cash plus a new out clause to escape his arena lease earlier, all on the reasoning that this would prevent the Panthers from leaving town? (It still boggles my mind to type that.) At least Broward got something out of the deal, it turns out: development rights to 140 acres around the arena that Viola transferred back to the county. And what do they plan to do with their new windfall?

Now the county has to figure out what to do with the land, a vast asphalt sea of parking lots.

“A putt-putt course?” county commissioner Beam Furr quipped Sunday, as consultants held their first meeting to sort out options.

I haven’t kept up with the value of swampland in Florida, so it’s entirely possible that the property around the arena will be good for something, hopefully before the entire region is underwater. It would have been nice for Broward officials to figure this out before trading $86 million and a lease out clause for it, but hey, magic beans are better than nothing.

2 comments on “Broward got land rights in exchange for $86m Panthers subsidy, doesn’t know what to do with them

  1. It is decent land in a pretty developed part of the US. Not worth anything near $86 million, but not worth nothing.

  2. I think the area in question is the parking lots around the arena, and perhaps some vacant land that may be environmentally sensitive. So I’m not sure that there’s much they can do with it. Though it’s near the sawgrass mills mall so it has some value I suppose.

    Also on the putt putt course, there’s a little history here that probably is intended as a pun. Back when H Wayne owned blockbuster he had a putt putt course a couple of miles from here. And he had hoped to put the Marlins and panthers arenas on a plot of land across from the amusement park. He sold, the panthers got their arena nearby. And commissioners surely remember the history.