Broward considers razing Panthers’ 19-year-old arena, this isn’t even surprising anymore

The Florida Panthers‘ arena in Broward County (I’m not going to go through the trouble of remembering its current corporate name) opened 19 years ago, at public expense, as a way to get the team to stay in the Miami area long-term. So, naturally, it’s time for the county to start thinking about tearing it down:

This week, Broward County embraced a development vision for the land, a potential playbook created by the Urban Land Institute… The institute’s land use experts said the county-owned BB&T Center, a giant venue surrounded by parking spaces, represents “an opportunity lost.’’

The main reason for hiring ULI is to figure out how to develop the land around the arena — which the county bought back for $86 million in 2015 — which would have been a better idea before spending the money, but better late than never. But that deal also handed Panthers owner Vincent Viola an out clause in his lease, so the consultants are also being tasked with figuring out what to do with the land if the team leaves:

The consultants explored three alternatives: the Panthers extend their lease, and a casino is added; the Panthers extend their lease, and office and housing are added; and the Panthers leave, the arena is demolished, and housing, a casino and offices are added. The third option would bring in the most tax revenue and income to the county, at an estimated $391.3 million over 11 years, the report said.

On the one hand, you could probably come up with more economically productive uses for the land than a hockey arena, assuming Broward County has much more time before it’s underwater. Though if the county ends up having to build the Panthers a new arena somewhere else to keep them after they opt out of their lease, that’s less helpful. That out clause really was as bad an idea as it sounded at the time.

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9 comments on “Broward considers razing Panthers’ 19-year-old arena, this isn’t even surprising anymore

  1. I am sure there are folks in other cities that would give Broward a nice chunk of change if it meant they could have the Panthers move there.

  2. Is a casino allowed? Can the panthers move in with the heat or is that arena hoops only? Maybe they should build the mls stadium at this site, ha

    1. There are two casinos each within 20 minutes of the Panthers’ arena, in Coconut Creek and Hollywood. Good luck with that casino idea.

  3. If the product doesn’t sell build a new arena , cheerleaders , casino , pools , mascots , bars , restaurant , zip lines , water slides , DJ’s , bobblehead , amusement park and entertainment district. Oh and make season tickets tax deductible so sponsors buy in bulk. All reasons why our sports leagues will never make outside ours shores.

  4. One thing to consider: Broward County is one of the few remaining liberal-leaning counties in Florida. Decidedly so, in fact. If anything goes for a vote to the public, they’ll be lucky to get 10 votes, especially given the popularity (not) of hockey in Florida. They’d have a better chance if it was the Dolphins, since football is about as popular in Florida as it is in Texas.

  5. Maybe they should raze the arena and replace it with an aquatheater, since we’re being told that South Florida is going to be underwater in less than ten years. Buy your flippers now while they’re affordable.

    1. Thanks — I’d noticed, but it wasn’t letting me fix it for some reason. I finally hit it with a wrench, and now it’s gone.

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