Remember when the Pittsburgh Penguins where dangling by the thinest of threads that they would be either staying in Pittsburgh or moving to another city two years ago? Many of us do.
Well, it is a sight that Pittsburghers and Penguins fans were not sure would ever come. But it will. The team announced today that they and the city plan to hold a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of where the new $290 million arena will be built, directly across the street from Mellon Arena between Centre Avenue and Fifth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.
According to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Mark Belko, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell let the news slip during a press conference yesterday in which he announced the state would allocate $95 million in funding for local bridge repair and other economic projects in the Pittsburgh area.
At the same time, KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh reported that Rendell eased concerns over eventually getting a financing plan completed that would transfer ownership of PITG Gaming from Don Barden to Neil Bluhm. Two years ago, Barden won a highly sought bid to acquire a gaming license to be able to build a casino on the north bank of the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh. A suspension of the construction project dates back to June 30th. The Penguins eventually worked out a deal in which funds from slots from this new casino would go toward the construction of the new arena.
As mentioned previously when the new arena deal was struck, the new multi-purpose facility will open in time for the 2010-2011 National Hockey League season.