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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Governor Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl joined Pittsburgh Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle Tuesday in announcing a deal for a new multi-purpose arena that will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for at least the next 30 years.

The $290 million arena will be built across the street from the current Mellon Arena, between Centre and Fifth Avenues.

"We are happy to finalize a deal that will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the long term, and provide the citizens of Western Pennsylvania with a new, state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena," Gov. Rendell said.

"We shared the same goal as the Penguins' ownership - to keep the team here, playing in Pittsburgh, for at least the next 30 years," said County Executive Onorato. "Our new, multi-purpose facility will host NHL hockey and also serve as an entertainment centerpiece and economic generator for our entire region."

"This is another great step forward for the City of Pittsburgh and our region," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. "We all worked very hard to ensure that the Penguins would stay here in Pittsburgh, and to provide a new 21st century entertainment center for our City, without using local taxpayer dollars."

The Penguins' contribution to the project will be an annual payment of $3.8 million, plus $400,000 a year for capital expenses at the new facility.

Other elements in the funding plan include $7.5 million annually from Don Barden of PITG Gaming and $7.5 million annually from the State Gaming Tourism and Economic Development Fund.

The Penguins will receive all revenue from the new arena and are responsible for paying all operating costs.

"We are proud to announce that the Penguins are staying in Pittsburgh, where we belong," Lemieux said. "On behalf of Ron Burkle, our ownership group, our organization and our fans, I would like to thank Governor Rendell, County Executive Onorato and Mayor Ravenstahl for their tireless efforts, and for the commitment in helping us to achieve this goal."

Government and team officials hope to have the new arena ready to open sometime during the 2009-10 NHL season.


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