A timeline on the new arena deal
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In the nearly eight years since Mario Lemieux bought the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team has been through a handful of proposals and many starts and stops in its efforts to finance a replacement for Mellon Arena. Here are some of the notable events that occurred along the way to yesterday's announcement that a deal has been reached:
Oct. 13, 1998 -- Penguins owner Roger Marino files for bankruptcy protection with U.S. District Court. The deal includes a clause that says elected officials will "endeavor to complete a financing and development plan" for a new arena by June 30, 2002.
Sept. 3, 1999 -- Bankruptcy Court approves sale to a group headed by former Penguins star Mario Lemieux after months of contentious negotiations.
Nov. 21, 2000 -- Penguins buy the former St. Francis Central Hospital for $8 million as a possible site for a new arena.
March 11, 2002 -- Penguins propose a $500 million office, housing and retail development adjacent to proposed new arena.
July 31, 2002 -- Sports & Exhibition Authority unveils a $270 million plan to build a new arena by the fall of 2006, but elected officials react coolly because they say they don't have money to contribute to the project.
Oct. 3, 2003 -- Penguins put hospital property up for sale because of the lack of progress toward a new arena and the property is too expensive to maintain.
March 24, 2004 -- Los Angeles-based Sports Finance & Management Group proposes privately funded arena, but Penguins are cool to the idea because they want to control the facility.
Dec. 10, 2005 -- Citing lack of progress on talks for a new arena, Lemieux says there's a "slim chance" the Penguins would remain in Pittsburgh after the team's lease expires in June 2007.
Dec. 21, 2005 -- Penguins announce they have an agreement with casino operator Isle of Capri Inc. to operate a slots casino next to a new arena, which Isle of Capri agreed to pay for at a cost of $270 million.
Jan. 18, 2006 -- Mr. Lemieux announces the team is for sale.
March 30, 2006 -- Gov. Ed Rendell announces an alternate plan to finance a new arena if the Penguins and Isle of Capri don't win the Pittsburgh slots license, but the Penguins say the casino plan would be better and, because of the team's contract with Isle of Capri, it can't even talk about any alternative.
Oct. 5, 2006 -- Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie reaches agreement to buy the Penguins for $175 million and says a new arena is key to their future success.
Dec. 15, 2006 -- Mr. Balsillie drops his bid to buy the Penguins after the National Hockey League says the team would be required to stay in Pittsburgh.
Dec. 20, 2006 -- State awards slots license to Detroit businessman Don Barden, who agrees to pay $7.5 million a year to help finance a new arena.
Dec. 22, 2006 -- Mr. Lemieux announces the team is no longer for sale, but he will entertain offers to move to another city.
Jan. 4, 2007 -- After a meeting with city, county and state officials, Penguins say they are optimistic a deal for a new arena can be done quickly.
March 5, 2007 -- Frustrated by a lack of progress in arena talks, the Penguins declare an impasse and say they will actively shop the team to other cities.
March 8, 2007 -- Following a hastily arranged meeting near Philadelphia, public officials and the Penguins say they have made "substantial progress" on an arena deal.
March 13, 2007 -- Penguins and public officials announce they have reached an agreement to build an arena for $290 million that's scheduled to open in October 2009.
First Published March 14, 2007 12:00 am