The auditorium is located at 801 North Tamiami Trail. In 1935, Mayor E.A. Smith proposed the idea of a city park in the last 2 waterfront lots between North Tamiami Trail in the front and Sarasota Bay in the back.The city purchased tax certificates for the property. The city obtained federal funding under the auspices of the WPA. The clearing of the land and the beginning of construction began in 1937. Municipal, combined efforts of civic organizations and concerned citizens spurred the effort.
The city sponsored a contest for an architect to develop a plan for the design and use of the property. A local architect Reed Martin won. The city used his plan to obtain federal funding. A total of $ 131,000 was awarded. Work on the Municipal Auditorium began in 1937. The design was classic with modern elements. Buttressed along the outer wall supported the roof and the patch arches in the building facade. The front showed current art deco trends.