Big Lead Sports Bar


Civic/Mellon Arena to be Demolished

Despite the best efforts of the Reuse the Igloo group, the Civic Arena will be demolished, per a unanimous vote by the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority this morning. According to the PG, "The vote occurred without any discussion from board members, prompting shouts of "Gestapo" from one member of the audience."

Rob Pfaffman, the face and voice of Reuse the Igloo, sounds as if he's ready to take the issue to court  while saying his group "didn't get a fair shake." 

I honestly appreciate his cause, but I don't know if he's got much of a chance up against the city, county, and Penguins, all of whom seem determined to tear down this historic facility in favor of redevelopment.  

On the SEA end, the agency now will start removing asbestos from the building and prepare bids for demolition, which could be ready by February. It certainly sounds as if they have no fear of any court-mandated delays on the horizon. 

This inevitable decision was bound to give hard feelings to fans on one side of the fence or another. The preservationists have been very vocal, as have those who want to go forward with plans to use the space for new development. It's been a very polarizing issue from the get-go, and I certainly take no joy in passing along the news that the Igloo will soon be no more.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


Wintermute said...

If it was a unanimous vote, what exactly were the "gestapo" supposed to discuss? Strident partisans confuse me.

Dallas Mike said...

The vocal minority who want this thing saved probably never owned an asset in their life. Have any of these people considered the fixed costs associated with a vacant arena that do not go away just because the tenant is gone? Property taxes, insurance, utilities, security, etc. Certainly the tax payers should not be on the hook for those costs, and I would venture to guess that the city already operates in the red. Just ask the bureaucrats of Pontiac, Michigan how expensive it was to maintain the vacant Silverdome until they dumped it for $582K. The sooner the Civic Arena is bulldozed, the sooner you can turn the property into a revenue generating development.

Unknown said...

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County need to go on Hoarders. I swear this city hoards tax-exempt property and our fellow taxpayers enable it!

Jonny Van Mundegaarde said...

In all fairness, the save the arena people wanted to come up with other uses for it, it wouldn't just be sitting there gathering dust.

But if more money can be made in its' demolition, then bring on the Recchin' ball. Ha.

jmarinara said...

-The board should have allowed some discussion to take place or at least should have taken the time to explain themselves.

-Unanimous votes don't just happen. There's some dealing going on behind the scenes.

-I hate unaccountable, unelected, governmental bodies.

-Fine, tear it down. You get no argument from me. But don't come crying to me, a suburban county resident, when the city wants more convention space and the glorious development that's supposed to take place NEVER does. Don't come crying to me when the Hill District is still a war zone and people aren't suddenly interested in going there simply because the Igloo isn't in the way anymore.

All of which WILL happen.

- The Penguins are starting to look like their nice guy image is just a facade. The business only decision here is very "Nutting-esque" They needed to remain neutral in this and didn't. Not a great PR move.

- I wonder how much of the development will be a TIF district or will otherwise have their tax burden significantly reduced thus undermining the whole argument for tearing it down.

Unknown said...


Even if the taxes are reduced to encourage development, there is still revenue to be made in terms of sales tax, Onorato drink tax, fees, utilities, payroll taxes, etc.

Dom Errico said...

I'm sure plenty of people would present "alternate plans" for reusing the Igloo but none of them would provide funding with which to do it.

What possible purpose could a run down falling apart steel structure with nothing inside it bring to the City other than "oh look it's still there"

It's not "The arena" anymore.

People need to just let her die a graceful death just like every other stadium in the past has done when a new one was built.

I mean my god imagine if we still have Forbes Field, Pitt Stadium, Three River Stadium, and the Duquesne Gardens all still eventually run out of room to build.

Let her die....

Chad said...

Good, turn it into a parking lot. Why would we want to save it anyway? My good memories of games and concerts aren't going away just because the building isn't standing. We need more parking!

Don said...

The Arena wasn't even good for the purpose it was built for, it wasn't going to be good for anything else. These re-use it people are probably the same people on Route 51 that have a broken toilet in the front yard as a planter. Some people just want a cause so they can fight for the sake of fighting. So dumb.

jerrykid said...

Really, something the CES or Lawrence Convention Center couldn't handle? Im not sure if a city that just got picked to hold the G-20 summit needs more convention space. If anything we need less, so we never have to host one of those ridiculous things again.

You could build an amusement park where the igloo is and the Hill district will still be a war zone, what the heck is gonna change that? They should just make one flat-tracked roller coaster going thru the entire neighborhood, you would get screams from the riders without any ups, downs, or loops.

Just let her Rest in Peace.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

I agree with Dominic Errico. You can't keep everything with ANY slight amount of historic value. We don't want to end up as a city with 10 pickup trucks on cinder blocks in our overgrown front yards.

Wow, an awful lot of comments disparaging the Hill District... We all realize where the new stadium is, right?

LeeTunnel said...

Geez. Next thing you know, they'll want to tear down the Syria Mosque.

Steve said...

“Wait, wait…don’t tear ir down!” Ok, what do you want to do with it? “Ummm, I don’t know and I never will, just don’t do it because I like it!”

That’s where we were a year ago and that’s where we still are with these people. Ridiculous.

It amazes me how people with no financial ties, or ownership to any given property can simply protest it's being torn down (doesn’t matter the reason) and have the legal recourse to stand in the way of its demolition and future use, especially when doing so will have no negative effect on the lives or well being of anyone involved. Now, if they could prove that losing the old arena would raise the odds of everyone in the city getting ass cancer then everyone should listen, but until then… The Penguins own the development rights to the Civic Arena and the property it sits on and the fact that they and the SEA are even entertaining this BS with a vote should be applauded.

This is like someone wanting to tear down his dilapidated house and build a new one that is more energy efficient and safer to live in, having to deal with some weirdo at the end of the street who collects asbestos and thinks the green asbestos siding on it is historical and the house should be saved for prosperity because it’s the last house in America with green asbestos siding, all while the courts delay the demolition and new construction to entertain some dillhole's crazy arguments and this guy is forced to live in a crappy house for years. As dumb as it sounds, things like this do happen and I don’t have a problem so much with the laws that are set up to allow this, as I’m sure when they were created people didn’t really think that in the future, other people would have a problem with EVERYTHING.

If these save the arena fools really want to do something, then they should come up with the money to buy it and have a plan to reuse it that is realistic (we’ll vote on that too) and will create jobs and revenue for the city and county while bettering the lives of the people around it. If not, then they need to stop acting like 3-year olds and STFU.

Dom Errico said...

I just went to the Reuse the Igloo site, and their main plan is to turn it into a park with the retractable roof.

Do these idiots realize the roof has been broken for years and is pretty much beyond repair due to the fact the parts aren't really available anymore?