New Penguins Arena

The National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins have partnered with a gambling company in hopes of building a new arena. The team says it must have new digs to remain in the city.

If Isle of Capri Casinos lands the license expected to be awarded next year for a Pittsburgh slots parlor, the company will build a $290 million arena.

The Penguins previously planned to pursue the slots license on their own. If Isle of Capri obtains the license, the team would get a new arena but no gaming revenues.

The venue would be built where the 18,500-capacity Mellon Arena currently sits. The Penguins have called Mellon home since 1967.

As part of the deal, a Columbus-based firm would develop the 50-acre site with retail stores, residential properties and office buildings. The total cost of the project, including the arena, is estimated at approximately $1 billion.

Prior to the announcement, city officials were trying to find a way to build a new arena without using public tax money.

Penguins owner Mario Lemieux previously said there was a “slim chance” the team would stay past the 2006-07 season without a new home. The owner has sought a new facility since he acquired the team in 1999.

Mellon Arena is said to be the smallest and oldest venue currently in use in the NHL.