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Penguins set fresh timeline for new music venue at former home

The Pittsburgh Penguins, along with the NHL ice hockey team’s development partner Buccini/Pollin Group, have said they plan to start work on a new 6,600-capacity music venue this summer.

The venue was first proposed five years ago and is set to be located on the site of the now-closed Civic Arena, the Penguins’ home from 1967 to 2010, near to the team’s current facility, PPG Paints Arena. In March 2020, the Penguins reached an agreement with Live Nation Entertainment to operate the new music venue, with work expected to commence that summer with a view to it opening in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper said a new timeline for the start of the project was disclosed during a NAIOP Pittsburgh meeting yesterday (Thursday). Kevin Acklin, the Penguins’ chief operating officer, said the team is assessing final designs with Live Nation and hopes to secure final approvals from the city Planning Commission and Urban Redevelopment and Sports & Exhibition authorities this spring.

The music venue and an associated 850-space parking garage is now being targeted for completion by autumn 2023. After years of delays, the Penguins in September broke ground on a 26-story office tower at the former Civic Arena site that will be anchored by First National Bank. “We have momentum with the construction of FNB underway and are actively working to advance the remaining elements of the development,” said Acklin.

In December, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), parent company of Major League Baseball team the Boston Red Sox and English Premier League football club Liverpool, completed a $900m (£685m/€815.6m) takeover of the Penguins.

Tracey McCants Lewis, the Penguins’ deputy general counsel and director of human resources, said that FSG is backing the plans for the Civic Arena site. She added: “They are completely committed and supportive of the development continuing. So we have their full support.”

In August 2019, FSG was granted approval to build a new concert venue next to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. FSG is also working with Live Nation to deliver the venue, which will be called MGM Music Hall at Fenway.

The Penguins and Buccini/Pollin are working with design and architecture firm Gensler on the overall plans to transform the 28-acre former Civic Arena site.

Image: Gensler