Getting Mellon-choly

Pittsburgh city officials have decided to move forward with tearing down the 18,500-capacity Mellon Arena instead of trying to save and reuse the aging facility as preservationists are lobbying for.

The domed landmark nicknamed the “Igloo” is scheduled to be shuttered this summer when the 18,087-capacity Consol Energy Center, the new home to the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, opens across the street, according to the city’s Post-Gazette.

“I believe that there is a better and higher reuse of that land than perhaps preserving that building,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl told the paper. “Now that may make some folks unhappy, but I also think it’s the right thing to do for the future of the city.”

City and county officials are seeking help from U.S. Sen. Arlen Spector to obtain about $28 million in federal funding to rebuild street connections that were severed when Mellon Arena was built nearly 50 years ago.

The arena is scheduled to host “Stars On Ice” April 29 and James Taylor / Carole King June 26.

Meanwhile, there is one plan in the works that could keep part of Mellon Arena and its history intact.

Don Celia, president of Five Mile Development Group, submitted a plan in January that would recycle a substantial part of the arena’s retractable roof panels and wishbone support truss as part of a proposed, six-story office building.