Mellon In The Red

Pittsburgh’s aging Mellon Arena may be set to close in August but taxpayers in the city and county will be on the hook for the venue for years to come.

The building went through several pricey improvements during its long lifetime that have yet to be paid off, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

For one, the venue’s distinct dome roof, which earned it the nickname the Igloo, was patched several times. There was also an ice-making machine to fix and a 7,000-seat venue capacity increase, leaving the venue $9.3 million in the red, the paper said.

Officials have estimated the debt won’t be paid off until 2018, eight years after the new Consol Energy Center opens.

“Ideally, you wouldn’t still have debt on it when the new arena opens,” Sports & Exhibition Authority director Mary Conturo told the Tribune-Review. “But it’s gone through refinancing and a number of renovations.”

While some local groups have called for preservation of the Mellon Arena by repurposing the building as a hotel and amphitheatre, others have said razing the venue makes the most financial sense.

Pieces of the venue including the basketball court floor and basketball hoops have already gone on the auction block.