Civic Arena will be sold piece by piece
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Parts of the Civic Arena will live on after all -- most likely in game rooms, dens and basements.
The city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority and the Penguins are teaming up to sell or auction off seats and other arena-related memorabilia online over the next two months.
Seats from the Igloo, which closed at the end of July and is targeted for demolition, went on sale Thursday to Penguins season ticket holders, who will have first dibs through Nov. 30. On Dec. 1, the seats will go on sale to the general public.
About 4,800 pairs of seats are available at a cost of $495 plus $120 for shipping within the United States. Starting Dec. 1, another 4,300 "commemorative" single seats will go on sale for the same price, plus shipping.
Buyers can choose from red, blue, black and, of course, those snug orange seats that challenged many a waistline. There is no limit to the number of seats that can be purchased. Requests for specific seats will not be honored.
All sales are being handled online at www.iglooseats.com.
Shawn Allen, chief operating officer for AssetNation, which is handling the sales and auctions for the SEA and Penguins, thinks fans will want to make the seats the best in their house. "I think the seats are going to generate the most revenue," he said.
The seat sale will be followed by an online auction Dec. 8 of other arena memorabilia, including signs, lockers, logo fixtures and carpet sections. Some items may include autographs by Penguins players.
Mr. Allen said some Mario Lemieux-related memorabilia may be offered. "There will be some things that are very interesting," he said.
Bidding for the memorabilia will start around Thanksgiving and conclude Dec. 8. The highest bidder will be awarded the item. Up to Dec. 8 when the sale closes, those who have placed a bid will be notified if they have been outbid.
"Although I don't like this phrase ... it's very similar to eBay," Mr. Allen said.
All bidding will be conducted at www.asset-auctions.com. Winning bidders will be responsible for removing items from the arena.
The first online auction for furniture and equipment, not including the arena seats, will close Nov. 17, with the bidding starting Nov. 10.
Mr. Allen said virtually all seats, equipment and furniture will be sold online, either through direct sales or auctions. None of the bidding or selling will be done at the arena because of safety and security issues.
Those who don't have access to the Internet can call toll-free 1-800-303-6511 to obtain a paper bid form or to purchase seats.
Overall, the sale is expected to generate $1.6 million for the SEA and $800,000 for the Penguins. Most of the team's portion will be donated to the Penguins Foundation to support youth hockey.
The SEA's share ultimately could be used to pay for the demolition of the 49-year-old silver-domed structure, executive director Mary Conturo said. The Sports & Exhibition Authority's board voted in September to tear down the iconic building to make way for a Penguins-led office, commercial and residential redevelopment.
Rob Pfaffmann, a local architect seeking to save the building, told the SEA Thursday that the asset sale could jeopardize federal funding for redevelopment under historic preservation law.
Mr. Pfaffmann and others, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, have warned that the proposed razing of the arena could amount to "anticipatory demolition" under federal law. He said some of the assets to be sold could be interpreted as "character-defining features" of the building.
But Ms. Conturo said the SEA has been advised by its lawyers that "what we're doing is proper and is not putting us in any jeopardy."
At the same time, Mr. Pfaffmann urged the SEA to use proceeds from the sale to help pay Civic Arena operating and holding costs while he and other groups seek to preserve the building.
Current operating costs are running about $40,000 a month, well below an earlier estimate of $76,000. Ms. Conturo said the SEA had been able to save money by not running the air conditioning or the heating so far.
First Published November 5, 2010 12:00 am