Allegheny County authorities, along with the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA), announced today that a new, publicly-funded professional wrestling arena will be built in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood.
Persons close to the negotiations revealed that the $4.1 million structure will be erected next door to the Lawrenceville Moose at 120 51st Street.
Real estate taxes will also be excused as part of the deal for five years, according to county authorities. The tax abatement is a part of an economic stimulus plan to encourage small business growth.
Industry insiders call the deal revolutionary, especially since it falls on the heels of the Mickey Rourke-Oscar nominated, “The Wrestler.”
Landon Mark, real estate liaison for the county, says that breaking ground on the multi-million dollar experiment will occur within a few months. “Next to building the new hockey arena, and with the possible exception of a NASCAR track in the Hays neighborhood, this is simply the biggest, best news for the region in these tough times,” added Mark.
Funding will be made possible through money from the current Regional Asset District (RAD) budget. There is also talk of siphoning from a proposed half-cent “sin tax” increase on cigarettes to assist with overruns. Authorities say that naming rights is also a possibility.
Organizers and promoters with the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance expressed gratitude and applauded the decision. “The region has been a hot-bed for professional wrestling and this beautiful arena will be the crown jewel of the industry,” said Francis Gotch, senior vice president of real estate development.
Originally a warehouse, the future KSWA Arena will sport a glitzy outdoor waterfall, a parking garage for 200 cars, and a chain restaurant called HEADLOCKS.
La Lucha, a Mexican immigrant who has become one of the KSWA's most celebrated Megastars—and a former World Champion—will be on hand for an official announcement soon.
Special tax incentives will also be given to KSWA stockholders as part of the plan. The arena is expected to create dozens of jobs and should be open April 1, 2011.