Mellon Arena Demo Makes Cents

Pittsburgh officials who’ve called for demolition of the 18,500-capacity Mellon Arena may now have a stronger case to do so.

The Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority recently hired Oxford Development Group to determine whether repurposing the venue would make dollars and sense, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The consultant came up with several justifications to raze the aging “Igloo” – namely $103.5 million in real estate and wage taxes that could be generated in 10 years by a mixed-use development at the site.

The NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly touted such a plan since the team won rights to develop the Mellon site during negotiations for the Penguins’ future home – the under-construction Consol Energy Center.

In contrast to the Penguins’ proposal, local architect Rob Pfaffmann has laid out a plan calling for the construction of a hotel using part of the arena, with the rest of the venue housing an amphitheatre and community ice rink, the paper said.

However, Oxford Development found that reusing the arena “presents numerous issues” and would provide the city with only $53.8 million in economic benefits over a 10-year period.

“A cleared unconstrained site with new street grid which will reconnect the hill to downtown presents the best opportunity for private developers to design cost-effective and economically viable real estate investments for the residential, retail, office and hospitality components,” Oxford said in its analysis.

The report will be reviewed by Pittsburgh officials before a final decision is made, the Post-Gazette reported.

Mellon Arena is scheduled to close in August.