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Penguins sign lease for new $290 million stadium

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins signed a lease
Thursday, committing the NHL team to its yet-to-be built $290
million arena until 2040.

The lease terms were in accordance with a March memorandum
between the team and government officials, Gov. Ed Rendell said
Thursday.

The city-Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority
committed Wednesday to construction financing, and the deal should
close in the first week of October, Rendell said. The Penguins
expect to open the arena in the 2010-11 season.

"This financing will provide the funds the arena needed," the
governor said. "These actions, plus the action of the Legislature
last July in approving the state's gaming and economic development
fund, assures that the funding is in place and that we are going to
be playing hockey in Pittsburgh for the next 25 years."

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato called the
arrangement a good deal for residents, pointing out that Don
Barden's Majestic Star Casinos will pay $7.5 million a year for 30
years toward the financing, with an equal amount coming from the
state's slots economic development fund.

"The Penguins are here because of gaming," Onorato said.
"That gave us the ability to create a new arena for them and keep
the pressure off the local taxpayers."