Consol Energy Center
Location Downtown Pittsburgh, bound by Washington Place, Centre Ave. and Fifth Ave.
Broke ground August 14, 2008
Built August 2008 – August 2010 (expected)
Opened August 2010 (expected)
Owner Sports and Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
Operator Pittsburgh Arena Operating LP/SMG
Surface Ice
Construction cost $321 million
Architect Populous
Project Manager Pittsburgh Arena Development, LP
Structural engineer Thornton Thomasetti/Raudenbush
Capacity 18,087 (Ice hockey)</br>19,000 (Basketball)
14,526 (End stage)
19,578 (Center stage)
Field dimensions 720,000 sq. ft.
Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) (2010)

The Consol Energy Center is an arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The arena will be the second home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the city's National Hockey League (NHL) franchise. It is expected to complete construction on August 1, 2010[1] and open for the 2010–11 NHL season.[2] The arena will replace the Penguins current arena, Mellon Arena, which was built in 1961. A ceremonial ground-breaking ceremony was held on August 14, 2008. The arena will attempt to be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-certified NHL arena.[3] The arena is named for CONSOL Energy, which purchased the naming rights in December 2008.

Planning and funding Edit

The Lemieux Group explored options to build a replacement for Mellon Arena, the oldest and lowest capacity arena in the NHL, since its purchase of the Penguins in 1999.[4] In an attempt not to use public funding, the Penguins filed for a slots license under the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The Penguins were granted the license, though the decision of which casino company would receive approval was the Gaming Control Board's decision.[5] The Lemieux Group reached an agreement with Isle of Capri Casinos, which offered to fully fund a $290 million arena, if Capri could also construct a $500 million casino nearby.[5] Other casinos, including Majestic Star Casino and Forest City Enterprises, also agreed to partially contribute to the arena's funding.[6] On December 20, 2006, the Gaming Control Board awarded the license to Majestic Star Casino, who agreed to pay $7.5 million for the first 30 years,[7] in addition to the Penguins paying $4 million per year.[8][9] The casino experienced financial difficulty, which could have led to taxpayers financing the entire project. However, on August 14, 2008 the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board selected Neil Bluhm to take ownership of the casinos, which pulled the casinos out of risk of bankruptcy.[10]

File:Consol Construction July 2009.jpg

The arena's funding plan was agreed upon by Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell on March 13, 2007, after much negotiation.[11] During negotiations, the Penguins explored moving the franchise to Kansas City or Las Vegas; after the deal was made the Penguins agreed to stay in Pittsburgh for at least thirty more years.[11] Lemieux later stated that relocating the franchise was never a possibility, but instead it was a negotiation tactic to help the team get funding for the arena from both state and local officials.[12] The arena was originally scheduled to open for the 2009–10 NHL season; however, this was pushed back to the 2010–11 NHL season.[13][14] The arena was expected to cost approximately $290 million, but rose to $321 million due to increased cost of steel and insurance.[15][16] The Penguins agreed to pay $3.8 million per year toward construction, with an additional $400,000 per year toward capital improvements.[11] After $31 million cost rise, the Penguins pledged an additional $15.5 million, while the State and Sports and Exhibition Authority split the difference.[15][16] In September 2009, the State contributed an additional $5.08 million from the "Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund" to cover a rising "interest on variable rate bonds".[17]

The arena is expected to help the surrounding area grow financially; plans are in place to construct a bar and a grocery store nearby.[18][19] In October 2008, the Penguins reached an agreement with the Horizon Properties Group to build a 135-room hotel adjacent to the arena.[20][21] A "nationally-franchised hotel" is expected to open in August 2010.[20] Horizon has developed Hampton and Homewood Suites in the region, and is planning a similar project at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex in Indiana, Pennsylvania.[22] A 15-foot montage of pictures inspired by the works of August Wilson will be created for Fifth and Centre Avenues.[23]

The Arena Football League considered starting an expansion team in the arena,[24] however, the league folded in August 2009.[25] However, a new league founded in 2009 has also considered an expansion team in Pittsburgh. [26]

Design and construction Edit

File:Consol Energy Center May 2009.jpg

Populous, formerly HOK Sport, designers of PNC Park and Heinz Field, designed the building, while the ICON Venue group oversaw the building of the arena.[27] More than a dozen buildings were razed in order to create room for the new arena.[28] On April 8, 2008, Populous presented design renderings to the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission, receiving negative feedback.[2] Local architect Rob Pfaffmann went so far as to say, "If I put a Home Depot sign on that, it looks like a Home Depot."[2] Populous returned on May 6 with new plans, which were unanimously approved by the City Planning Commission.[29][30] Template:Quote box The Penguins have contacted the Pittsburgh Technology Council, which includes 1,400 businesses, in order to find new technologies to implement into the arena's design.[31] On demand replays from touch-screens will be available in luxury suites, while "Yinz Cam"—a system developed by Carnegie Mellon University students—will allow any fans to view instant replays from multiple angles on their cell phones.[32] The arena's capacity will be 18,087 for hockey, in honor of Sidney Crosby's number 87,[4] and 19,000 for basketball games.[33] The venue will hold 14,536 to 19,758 for concerts, depending on the layout. The venue will also include 2,000 box seats and 66 suites, in honor of Mario Lemieux's number 66.[33] Ticket prices will range from $115,000 to $150,000 per season for luxury boxes to individual game tickets at $22.[34] Ken Sawyer, Penguins' chief executive officer, has asked that the interior be modeled after Arena in Phoenix.[35] "I was just taken aback by their seats," said Sawyer, "Even when I was up in a high level, I had a great view."[35] NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called the building "very well designed."[36] Bettman liked the size of the concourses and the view offered of Pittsburgh's skyline.[36]

Mario Lemieux along with officials from the state and local governments ceremonially broke ground on a new hockey arena on August 14, 2008. Shovels, with shafts made from team captain Sidney Crosby's used hockey sticks, were used for the ground-breaking ceremony.[37][38] Erection of structural steel took place from January 2009[35] to August 2009.[39] The arena is named for CONSOL Energy, the largest producer of bituminous coal in the United States,[40] which signed a 21-year agreement with the Penguins in December 2008.[41]


  1. Belko, Mark (2009-10-14). "Architect predicts Aug. 1 completion of Pittsburgh's new arena". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Belko, Mark (2008-04-09). "New arena design takes its lumps". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  3. Reichard, Kevin (2009-03-24). "Pens, HOK to seek gold LEED certification for new arena". Green Sports Venues. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dvorchak, Robert (2008-08-15). "A new nest for the Penguins". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cowden, Michael (2006-04-11). "Penguins: Support for casino should be a 'no brainer'". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  6. Mauriello, Tracie; Mark Belko (2006-12-20). "PITG wins slots casino license for North Side". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  7. Conte, Andrew (2008-12-06). "Analysts: Isle of Capri favored to win". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  8. Associated Press (2006-12-20). "Pa. gaming board awards 5 slots licenses in historic session". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  9. Associated Press (2008-08-06). "Penguins to break ground on new arena Aug. 14". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  10. Barnes, Tom (2008-08-15). "Casino project back on track". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Belko, Mark (2007-03-13). "Arena deal keeps Penguins in Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  12. Boren, Jeremy; Rob Rossi (2008-08-15). "Countdown to 2010; arena construction begins". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  13. Associated Press (2007-08-02). "Penguins to open new arena in 2010-11 season". Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  14. Belko, Mark (2007-08-03). "Penguins delay arena opening until 2010". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Belko, Mark (13 November 2008). "New arena's cost rises $31 million". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 13 November 2008. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Boren, Jeremy (14 November 2008). "Arena's price tag jumps by $31 million". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  17. Erdley, Debra (2009-09-30). "State to give Pittsburgh hockey arena $5 million assist on bonds". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  18. Conte, Andrew (2008-08-19). "Hill to get $2 million aid for grocery, more". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  19. DeParma, Ron (2008-08-30). "Pens' arena expected to lure growth". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Hotel Project Announced at New Pittsburgh Arena". 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  21. Majors, Dan (2008-10-15). "Panel impressed with Penguin's hotel plans". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  22. "Developer Chose for Hotel". Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  23. Boren, Jeremy (May 8, 2009). "Pittsburgh scenes to fill mosaic curtains at new Consol Energy Center". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved May 9, 2009. 
  24. Batiste, Tyler (2007-06-19). "AFL eyes Pittsburgh for possible expansion". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  25. "AFL appears close to folding". 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  26. [1]
  27. "Penguins choose firms to create new arena". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2007-05-16. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  28. Smydo, Joe (2008-03-23). "Out with the old, in with the arena". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  29. Belko, Mark (2008-05-08). "Planners approve final design for Penguins' arena". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  30. "New Arena Plan Approved by City Planning Commission". 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  31. Belko, Mark (2008-05-13). "The future is now for technology at Penguins' new arena". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  32. Boren, Jeremy (15 April 2009). "Penguins officials offer arena sneak peek". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 15 April 2009. 
  33. 33.0 33.1 Smizik, Bob (2008-08-15). "Arena groundbreaking is great day for hockey". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  34. Belko, Mark (15 April 2009). "Penguin hockey fans will sit in lap of luxury in new Consol Energy Center". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 15 April 2009. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Rossi, Rob (2008-11-09). "Pens bowled over by Valley view". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  36. 36.0 36.1 Yohe, Josh (2009-10-03). "Bettman anticipates 'spectacular' new building for Pens". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  37. Dvorchak, Bob (2008-08-14). "Ground broken for Penguins' new home". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  38. "Government Officials, Penguins Break Ground on New Multi-Purpose Arena". 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  39. "Consol Energy Center will be topped off on Thursday". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009. 
  40. Price, Karen (16 December 2008). "Pens assign naming rights to arena". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 16 December 2008. 
  41. "CONSOL Energy Acquires Naming Rights to New Pittsburgh Arena". 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 

External linksEdit

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