The Florida Panthers announced today that the organization has committed to privately financing the restoration and revitalization of the historic War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale.
Owner Vincent Viola had this to say:
“We are humbled to have earned the trust and partnership of our community and of the city of Fort Lauderdale.” “The War Memorial Auditorium stands as a tribute to the individuals who have served our great country, including Medal of Honor recipient and Fort Lauderdale’s own Alexander “Sandy” Nininger, a graduate of West Point class of 1941 and is a landmark central to the identity and history of our community. We’re thrilled to be able to assume stewardship of the War Memorial Auditorium and are prepared to invest significantly to create a world class sports and entertainment venue for the benefit of families and the great people of Fort Lauderdale.”
The restoration project will include two indoor ice rinks and a concert venue capable of accommodating approximately 3,000 people for concerts, conventions and other live events. The classic, art-deco character of the War Memorial Auditorium will be preserved and enhanced by additional upgrades. The Auditorium will house National Hockey League-level training facilities and will serve the community by offering youth hockey programs, public skating and figure skating opportunities to people of all ages.
“The War Memorial Auditorium revitalization project represents another significant step forward for Fort Lauderdale and I want to thank Vinnie Viola and the Florida Panthers organization for their commitment to helping better our community,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “We’re very excited about partnering with the Panthers on the War Memorial Auditorium and are confident that this facility will enable Fort Lauderdale to offer unique events and activities for families and tourists, while bolstering athletic opportunities for Fort Lauderdale’s youth. I look forward to working with them on developing specific details of the renovation.”
This is not only an exciting development from a hockey standpoint, a concert venue of this size has long been needed in the Ft. Lauderdale area, since closing of the Sunrise Musical Theater many moons ago.