The Florida Panthers have begun the revitalization of a historic Fort Lauderdale landmark that will be the site of their new practice facility next year.
Through a partnership between the team and the city, the privately financed $65 million renovation of War Memorial Auditorium has started and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2022.
"We're deeply committed to Broward County, and believe that the addition of this world-class sports & entertainment venue in the city of Fort Lauderdale will not only provide a unique and exciting opportunity for our players to connect with fans, but create a vibrant, centrally-located recreation destination where local families and members of the community can have fun and stay active," said Panthers President and CEO Matt Caldwell.
The renovations will include redesigning concert and theater space already at the site. In addition, the team will add two indoor hockey rinks with one dedicated to the public.
A practice rink that can accommodate 1,000 fans is being constructed and will also be the site of a youth hockey program with the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Lauderdale.
"War Memorial Auditorium has served as a pillar in our Fort Lauderdale community for more than 70 years, and its revitalization will bring new life to an important and iconic social hub," said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.
Originally opened in 1950, War Memorial Auditorium was founded as a tribute to military heroes on the western end of Holiday Park. The site has hosted many concerts and sporting events, including professional boxing cards.
The partnership between the Panthers and the city of Fort Lauderdale was originally announced in April of 2019.