Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hey Penguins. Take a deep breath. Stick around. Let's build with your money in the airport area

I think it makes great sense to build a new arena out by the airport.

Keep the Civic Arena where it is for decades to come. Put some energy into the Civic Arena and allow it to thrive without the Penguins, after the Pens move out. The Civic Arena can have an evolution in the years to come. But let's be honest about putting up a new arena. Let's put the new arena in Allegheny County out by the airport.

One plus one equals two. That provides a net gain. When one new comes and one old goes, there is no net gain.

Even with the two North Side stadiums, PNC Park and Heinz Field, we lost 3RS and Pitt. The formula there was plus two and minus two with no net gain.

Some have told me that there are many game day Penguin tickets provided to students at Pitt and D.U., as well as the other smaller schools such as the Arts and Culinary students. Those folks who live in the center city will not be as quick to get to the Pens games if the new arena is built in the airport corridor. However, those who go to RMU will take their place, as will those at W&J.

All in all, I don't like the efforts of development at the airport. I think it causes sprawl. The movement to the airport area comes at an expense of the urban core. However, the hockey building and efforts with an entertainment venue in the west suburban reaches would fit the suburban lifestyle and make for a great addition.

Let's call the NHL team the "Pittsburgh PENNSYLVANIA Penguins."

The Pens could play a few games each year in the Arena, perhaps with the roof open, with turn-back-the-clock night festivities.

Of course, the building, operations and on-going ownership of the new hockey facility should be a private venture, not owned by the stadium authority.

Public officials should be part of the mix in working out the deals. We need leaders who lead. But, the public officials are not going to make nor break the deals and have much of a say nor sway in the marketplace.

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