ESTERO, Fla. — The new owner of Hertz Arena has big ideas for entertainment at the venue.
"We want to create Disneyland in Southwest Florida for adult and children," said David Hoffmann of Naples.
Hoffmann has been in Florida for four years, establishing a family of companies as an extension of his Chicago-based firm Osprey Capital.
"We've purchased ten businesses, and 26 pieces of real estate in the last three years," Hoffmann said.
In addition to the arena, Hoffmann also purchased the Florida Everblades hockey team that calls the arena home. While it has hosted numerous concerts over the years, Hoffmann wants to bring more music to the venue.
"We have relationships with country music folks in Nashville," he said. "We've talked to them about it. They're interested."
He said the arena will soon be upgraded with a $1.8 million video and sound system. Renovations on the suites will begin August 15. He hopes the improvements will be ready before the Everblades season begins in October.
"We're in it for the long haul," Hoffmann said. "We really want a place where everybody in Southwest Florida is proud that it's there."
Hoffmann had already become the new owner of the Naples Princess, which offers boats tours of Naples Bay, the Gordon River, and sunset cruises into the Gulf of Mexico.
He's also acquired other properties in downtown Naples, where he would eventually like to create an amusement center including a bowling alley on, or near, Fifth Avenue South or Third Street South.
"We are trying to create a new hospitality for all of Southwest Florida," Hoffmann said.
Jack Wert of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau in Collier County is hoping the new attractions will make Southwest Florida an entertainment destination for young adults.
"To get that group, you need to have entertainment," Wert said. "You need to have more things for people to do."
Hoffmann said he is also in talks to host a nationally-television college basketball tournament, as well as a hockey tournament at Hertz Arena.