Pittsburgh breaks ground on new arena

Aug. 14, 2008 at 2:18 PM
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PITTSBURGH, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Local dignitaries, including Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, broke ground Thursday for a $290 million arena that will be the Penguins' new home.

Lemieux, a legend on the ice as a Penguin, was joined by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and other local leaders to ceremoniously start construction on the new arena.

The multiuse facility will be next to Mellon Arena, where the Penguins have played since 1967. The facility, once known as the Civic Arena, opened in 1961 and was built for $22 million. It is the oldest arena in use in the NHL.

Team officials had suggested the NHL team might leave Pittsburgh without a new arena but Lemieux is among those considered key in putting together a lease for the new building, which is to open before the 2010-11 NHL season, to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

The new arena is expected to seat 18,087 for hockey, which is more than capacity at the Mellon Arena, which seats 16,940.

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