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Penguins arena plans finalized; building expected to seat 18,500

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Penguins' new arena is expected to seat 18,500, or nearly 2,000 more than Mellon Arena now holds for hockey, and will feature a glass atrium that faces downtown Pittsburgh.

The atrium will reach as high as 80 feet and will afford those inside a view of downtown.

The Penguins on Tuesday showed off the final design made by HOK Sport, which also helped design Heinz Field and PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

The US$290-million arena is to be built between Centre Avenue and Fifth Avenue, across the street from 46-year-old Mellon Arena. The Penguins have played in that arena, once known as the Civic Arena, since their initial season in 1967.

The new arena will include a 500-space garage, a surface lot for 150 cars and retail space. A hotel also may be built on the site in the future.

Penguins chief executive officer Ken Sawyer said the team will submit the project to the city planning commission for approval. The Penguins hope to have the plans approved by January.

The arena is scheduled to open for the 2010-11 season, meaning the Penguins will play this season and two more in Mellon Arena, the NHL's oldest arena. Mellon Arena seats 16,940 for hockey.

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