Penguins delay arena opening until 2010 season
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The Penguins will wait until 2010 to open Pittsburgh's new arena.
The team said today it won't rush to complete the new building during the 2009-10 season. Waiting until the following season will give the team ample time to do the building right, not only for the organization but the city as a whole, spokesman Tom McMillan said.
He said the team would lose a couple of months of revenues by waiting but added it feels the trade off is worth it.
"The right thing to do is to do it the right way. The matter of a few more months will enable us to do that," he said.
The Penguins hope to break ground on the arena next spring, with completion targeted for the opening of the 2010-11 season.
In completing a deal in March to build the arena and stay in Pittsburgh, team officials had hoped to be in the new building during the 2009-10 season. But the more the team looked at it, the more it realized the more reasonable goal was the start of the 2010 season, Mr. McMillan said.
"We think this is by far the prudent decision," he said.
The new timetable isn't expected to increase the cost of the $290 million building.
Meanwhile, the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority has hired Oxford Development and Chester Engineers to serve as its watchdog in the design and construction of the $290 million arena.
The SEA board approved the hiring at its meeting today. The contract for the Oxford-Chester joint venture is estimated at $1.75 million. The firms will serve as the SEA's representative on the project, monitoring its development. The Penguins, who will be the lead tenant in the new building, will be responsible for the design and construction.
SEA Executive Director Mary Conturo said the joint venture was selected from seven firms through a request for proposals.
"They will be our oversight through the whole project," she said.
Also today, the board approved a $478,000 contract, plus expenses, with Graves Architects Inc. to design a 500-space parking garage adjacent to the new arena. The move was made in anticipation of a decision by the Penguins to opt for the garage, which would increase their contribution to the arena construction by $500,000 a year to $4.1 million. Ms. Conturo said that the Penguins, in her conversations with them, seemed to be leaning toward building the garage rather than surface parking.
Ms. Conturo said most site preparation work for the new arena should be done by October. The exception will be the St. Francis Hospital demolition, which is expected to start by November.
However, the arena construction could start before the hospital demolition has been completed.
More details in tomorrow's Pitsburgh Post-Gazette.
First Published August 2, 2007 1:41 pm