Fort Homer Hesterly Armory gets facelift for new purpose - WFLA News Channel 8

Fort Homer Hesterly Armory gets facelift for new purpose

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Brian Blair Brian Blair

A historic Tampa building is one step closer to being revitalized.

The Fort Homer Hesterly Armory on Howard Ave. has been vacant for years. Plans are now taking shape to convert the structure into a campus for the Jewish Community Center.

The new facility will house a pre-school, recreational facilities and health and wellness services.

There’s a lot of history tied to the Homer Hesterly Armory. Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly played concerts there. President John F. Kennedy gave a speech at the armory and each and every Tuesday night it was home to professional wrestling.

Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair made a living in the squared circle. As a youngster he attended matches at the armory and later on competed there when he worked for Championship Wrestling from Florida.

“This place is a culture of history, not just wrestling stars entertainment stars from all around the world,” Blair recalled as he visited the facility recently. “All cultures, all backgrounds. This armory is history.”

The Fort Homer Hesterly Armory is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The construction for the new JCC facility is estimated at $24 million, $18 of that has already been raised.

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