PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Penguins signed a lease Thursday, committing the NHL team to its yet-to-be built US$290 million arena until 2040.
The lease terms were in accordance with a March memorandum between the team and government officials, Gov. Ed Rendell said Thursday.
The city-Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority committed Wednesday to construction financing, and the deal should close in the first week of October, Rendell said. The Penguins expect to open the arena in the 2010-11 season.
"This financing will provide the funds the arena needed," the governor said. "These actions, plus the action of the Legislature last July in approving the state's gaming and economic development fund, assures that the funding is in place and that we are going to be playing hockey in Pittsburgh for the next 25 years."
Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato called the arrangement a good deal for residents, pointing out that Don Barden's Majestic Star Casinos will pay $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward the financing, with an equal amount coming from the state's slots economic development fund.
"The Penguins are here because of gaming," Onorato said. "That gave us the ability to create a new arena for them and keep the pressure off the local taxpayers."