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Thread: Pens arena update

  1. #1
    Satan's Helper SteelersfaninPhilly's Avatar
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    Post Pens arena update

    clock Jan 31, 2007 5:15 pm US/Eastern
    Officials Hope To Reach Arena Deal By Friday
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    Andy Sheehan
    Reporting

    (KDKA) PITTSBURGH Negotiations are continuing between government officials and the Pittsburgh Penguins as they try to come to terms on the building of a new arena here in Pittsburgh.

    Both sides are now discussing the loose framework of a deal but still going back and forth on some of the issues.

    Still, there is hope for an agreement by the end of the week.

    But if all goes well, it could be drawing to close shortly with a happy ending for Penguins fans.

    "Time is of the essence and we have gone back and forth, I'm hopeful this week that we will have an answer from the Penguins and hopefully a deal," said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl back on Monday.

    Sources say progress has been made on the overall deal and the potential sticking points such as the sharing of parking revenue and the sharing of development rights to the land after the Mellon Arena is torn down.

    One source says there's been major discussion over just who will pay a $10 million debt the Pens owe to their former gaming partner Isle of Capri.

    The state, county and city have refused to foot the bill, but the same source says the city and county may buy the central medical building from the Pens to partially off-set that cost.

    The Pens bought the building several years ago as a possible arena site.

    But again, there are no guarantees from the management here.

    Sources are telling KDKA Investigator Marty Sheehan that this could get done in the next 24 hours in anticipation of an announcement on Friday.

    However, the talks could very well take a step backward.


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  2. #2
    SA's #1 James Farrior Fan PITT23's Avatar
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    Fingers crossed for a new deal ASAP.
    :: Whoa, where the hell was I for 2 years?::

  3. #3
    Top 30 BBG7's Avatar
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    It looks like it's close. I hope they do reach an agreement.

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    PLEASE LET THE TRIB BE RIGHT!



    Pens may have deal Uptown, official says

    By Rob Rossi
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Thursday, February 1, 2007

    HARRISBURG - The Penguins apparently have cut a deal with public officials to finance an Uptown arena that would keep the team in Pittsburgh, a state senator said Wednesday.

    "I'm hearing that a deal could be made any day, which makes me suspect it's all about crossing the t's and dotting the i's," said Sen. Wayne Fontana, a Brookline Democrat who serves on the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, which would own the arena. "I don't know that there are any major hurdles left. It's all just little things."

    Fontana said he expects officials to announce a deal today or Friday.

    The Penguins had no comment. Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato would not comment, his spokesman Kevin Evanto said.


    "People involved directly in the negotiations are not discussing anything publicly," said Dick Skrinjar, spokesman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

    Fontana said Gov. Ed Rendell and Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle, a California billionaire, have held "a lot of phone conversations." The two worked together on the Democratic National Committee, and that connection helped ease tension from a Jan. 18 meeting over how to divide arena revenue, Fontana said.

    The Penguins balked at sharing money from parking and the developmental rights for the Mellon Arena site with Majestic Star Casino owner Don Barden, who won the state license to build a Pittsburgh slots casino and will contribute money toward an arena. Fontana said the two sides have found "a middle ground" over the parking revenues and development rights.

    Late last year, Rendell said he would work to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh after state gambling regulators dismissed a casino proposal that would have built an arena entirely with slots money, state Gaming Control Board Chairman Tad Decker disclosed yesterday.

    Decker told the Tribune-Review he talked with the governor after the board voted Dec. 20 to award Detroit-based Majestic Star the Pittsburgh slots license. The gambling board rejected a proposal by the Penguins' partner, St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos, which had promised to pay $290 million for an arena if it became the licensee.

    "Rendell guaranteed us they will not leave," Decker said. "He said, 'It might take a little more money. We're going to do whatever is necessary -- reasonably necessary -- to keep them in Pennsylvania.' "

    Rendell's spokeswoman Kate Philips discounted Decker's remarks.

    "The governor doesn't guarantee anything," she said. "It's just not his style."

    Under an alternate financing plan headed by Rendell, Majestic Star has agreed to pay $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward an Uptown arena. The state would pay $7 million a year from a development fund backed by gambling money.

    The Penguins would have paid $8.5 million up front and $2.9 million a year, while forgoing $1.16 million a year in naming rights. But Rendell has said the team's contribution was "significantly" reduced.

    The arena would be built on property owned by the sports authority near Mellon Arena. The team's lease there ends in June.

    Time has nearly run out on the Penguins' imposed 30-day deadline to complete an arena deal. They were expected to tell Kansas City officials by Feb. 4 whether they would relocate to play in the new Sprint Center starting next season.

    The Penguins have not sought the National Hockey League's approval to relocate. The league repeatedly has stated its desire for the team to stay in Pittsburgh.

    With the team at home through Saturday and Canadian news media in Pittsburgh for tonight's game against Montreal, officials might want to take advantage of the publicity and end the uncertainty, Fontana said.

    "There is an opportunity to wrap this up nicely," Fontana said. "I could certainly see everybody wanting to get this settled while the parties are around."

    Rendell was scheduled to be in Harrisburg today, Philips said.



  5. #5
    Living Legend Steelersfan's Avatar
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    Looking more and more like the Pens will be staying!

  6. #6
    #1 Hater of the other 30 SteelCityMan786's Avatar
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    Unfortunately that was posted before this.
    http://post-gazette.com/pg/07032/758616-61.stm

    Rendell: Arena offer revised, but deal not close yet

    Thursday, February 01, 2007
    By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Gov. Ed Rendell said today that state and local officials have revised their offer to the Penguins on a new arena but are not close to a deal to keep the team in Pittsburgh.

    Mr. Rendell disputed a published report saying that a new arena deal could be announced today or tomorrow.

    "The statements that this is close to a done deal -- that is not correct," he said. "We have given the Penguins a revised offer but in no way shape or form have they indicated it's over."

    The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quoted state Sen. Wayne Fontana, a board member of the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, which is involved in the negotiations, as saying an announcement could be made today or tomorrow.

    The Penguins have declined comment on the talks.

    At a press conference this morning, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he believes the parties "are close" but would not put a time frame on completion of an agreement.

    "This is something that, when we get the opportunity to speak once again, could happen at any time," he said. "Or it could also take a few more weeks. I don't want to put some kind of artificial time table or time frame on the deal, or the agreement. We're still, internally through the SEA, preparing documentation, and lease agreements, and everything associated with the deal, and will continue to do so. And when we get the chance to get back together, we'll be able to talk more specifically about the details of the deal."

    Mr. Ravenstahl said state and local officials were "eagerly anticipating" another meeting with the team and said one could occur before the end of the week, although nothing has been scheduled so far.



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    http://post-gazette.com/pg/07033/758870-61.stm

    Penguins receive revised offer for new arena from officials

    Friday, February 02, 2007
    By Mark Belko and Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    State and local officials are continuing to tweak their offer to the Penguins, but have yet to complete a deal that will keep the team in Pittsburgh.

    Gov. Ed Rendell said yesterday that he, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato have revised their offer to the team. But he added the two sides haven't completed a deal, contrary to one published report.

    "We have given the Penguins a revised offer but in no way shape or form have they indicated it's over," he said. No details of the proposal were available.

    The sides are hoping to set up a meeting next week, at which point they most likely will be trying to wrap up an agreement to build a new arena and keep the team in Pittsburgh under a 30-year lease.

    Mr. Ravenstahl said he, Mr. Onorato and Mr. Rendell were "eagerly anticipating" their next meeting with the team. No date had been set up as of last night.

    "This is something that, when we get the opportunity to speak once again, could happen at any time. Or it could also take a few more weeks. I don't want to put some kind of artificial timetable or time frame on the deal, or the agreement," he said.

    The Penguins have declined comment on all aspects of the talks.

    The team has set a soft 30-day deadline for deciding whether to accept a deal in Pittsburgh or seek to relocate to another city, most likely Kansas City, where a new $276 million arena opens next fall.



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    http://http://post-gazette.com/pg/07033/758954-61.stm

    Penguins may accelerate Kansas City talks next week

    Friday, February 02, 2007
    By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    The Penguins may accelerate talks with officials in Kansas City sometime next week if they aren't able to soon conclude negotiations in Pittsburgh on a new arena deal, a source close to the team said today.

    However, even if the team stepped up those efforts, it does not mean it would end negotiations with state and local politicians on a deal here, the source stressed. Talks would proceed simultaneously on both fronts.

    The Penguins are facing a soft 30-day deadline, one that expires this weekend, in providing an answer to Kansas City officials. Representatives in that city are offering the team free use of the $276 million Sprint Center next season, no construction costs, and half of the building revenues.

    At the same time, Gov. Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl are trying to complete an agreement to build a new arena and keep the team here under the Plan B funding formula utilizing gambling revenues and contributions from the team.

    Mr. Onorato told an Airport Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast crowd this morning that he is still optimistic about keeping the team. State and local officials earlier this week presented the Penguins with a revised offer that could serve as a basis for an agreement.



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    http://post-gazette.com/pg/07034/759140-61.stm

    Penguins may revisit K.C. if talks here sputter

    Saturday, February 03, 2007
    By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    With Pittsburgh arena negotiations dragging on, the Penguins may step up talks next week with officials in Kansas City about a possible relocation.

    Team officials will accelerate those negotiations if they are unable to complete substantially a deal with state and local leaders over the next few days or so to stay here, a source close to the Penguins said yesterday.

    In Kansas City, the new $276 million Sprint Center will be ready to open this fall. To lure the team, officials are offering the Penguins a deal that includes no rent, no construction costs, no upfront payments, and half the building revenues.

    After visiting the city Jan. 3 and 4, team co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said they would decide within 30 days whether to stay in Pittsburgh or look to relocate. That "soft" deadline expires this weekend.

    Since that first visit, officials in Kansas City, including those affiliated with Anschutz Entertainment Group, which will manage the Sprint Center and share revenues with the team, have adjusted their offer to the Penguins, although no details were available yesterday.

    However, the team has not pro-actively engaged in discussions about a possible relocation, concentrating instead on reaching a deal with Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato to stay in Pittsburgh.

    That could change in the next week or so if the two sides are unable to complete an agreement on financing a new building to replace Mellon Arena, the oldest in the National Hockey League.

    The Penguins' current lease expires at the end of June, leaving the team free to move elsewhere.

    Even if team officials step up talks with Kansas City, it does not mean they would end negotiations with state and local leaders here. Talks could proceed simultaneously on both fronts.

    Neither AEG officials nor others in Kansas City could be reached for comment. The Penguins have declined comment on all aspects of the talks, both in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, and continued to do so yesterday.

    No new negotiations have been scheduled so far. But the team and state and local leaders here are hoping to set up another round of talks next week, at which point they most likely will be seeking to wrap up a deal to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh under a 30-year lease.

    Neil deMause, co-author of "Field of Schemes," a book about stadium financing controversies, saw the Penguins' stepped-up interest in Kansas City as designed "to light a fire under Pittsburgh."

    "It may or may not be true, but I don't think they would be telling you or anybody that if they weren't trying to use it as leverage," he said.

    He described it as the bargaining equivalent of the two-minute warning in football. "Teams say this all the time and they mean it about 5 percent [of the time]," he said, adding he would be surprised if the Penguins don't end up staying in Pittsburgh.

    Mr. Rendell said Thursday that state and local officials have revised their offer to the team, although no details were disclosed. He, Mr. Ravenstahl and Mr. Onorato are trying to reach a deal under Plan B, the funding formula that relies on gambling revenues and team contributions to build an arena.

    Plan B previously had been altered to reduce the team's share. The Penguins originally were to contribute $2.9 million a year for 30 years, plus $1.16 million annually in naming rights.

    But Mr. Rendell said last week the team's contribution is now a "fraction" of the $2.9 million the Pirates annually put into PNC Park. It's unknown how naming rights factors into that.

    Mr. Ravenstahl said yesterday he still believes "there's issues with the numbers, and that's what we're discussing, and until we have the ability to say, or they have the ability to say yes, we're still in a negotiation stage."

    Nonetheless, he said he was not disappointed with the pace of the talks.

    "Certainly we want this issue resolved as quickly as possible, and I continue to work to do so. But I wouldn't see it as a setback in any way that we haven't had discussions this week. It's just a matter of logistics, and timing, and matching up schedules of all of those involved."

    Even with possible Penguins' negotiations with Kansas City looming, state Sen. Wayne Fontana, a board member for the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, which is involved in the talks, said he still feels "very positive" that a deal will get done here.

    "They've been exploring these options since the beginning. I imagine they will continue to do that until a deal's signed," he said.

    Kate Philips, Mr. Rendell's spokeswoman, declined comment on the Kansas City developments.



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    http://post-gazette.com/pg/07061/766358-100.stm

    Rendell says arena deal 'very close' but adds caution
    Governor says projected price has gone up

    Friday, March 02, 2007
    By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Gov. Ed Rendell said today that a deal with the Penuins to build a new arena is "very close" but cautioned the team could still end up in Kansas City.

    The governor also revealed that the bond issue to fund a new arena has gone up $20 million.

    Mr. Rendell made his comments before a speech this afternoon at Station Square.

    "It's still somewhat precarious although I'm very optimistic that we're close," he said of the negotiations between the team and government officials.

    "The attitude of the Penguins has convinced me that they want to stay here," he added.

    National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman has been involved in the talks for the past two to three weeks and has been serving as a go-between. He has been involved because he wanted "to see this brought to a head," Mr. Rendell said.

    "I can only say we're making progress. We keep narrowing the issues and I think we're very close."

    One continued stumbling block is the guaranteed maximum price of a new arena and how much the Penguins would pay for any cost overruns.

    Mr. Rendell revealed the amount of a state bond issue anticipated to finance construction has risen $20 million to $290 million. He said that is necessary as a contingency in case the cost exceeds current projections. He said all parties would have to share the pain of the increase.



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