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.