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Pittsburgh Penguins sale to Fenway Sports Group wins city-county and NHL approval

PPG Center.9 - Savitz - 111417 Lower Hill District Development displacement PPG Paints hockey arena pittsburgh penguins.JPG
90.5 WESA

The board of the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County approved the sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Boston-based Fenway Sports Group on Thursday.

The NHL's Board of Governors announced Thursday evening that they had unanimously approved the sale as well. Per the NHL, "The purchase remains subject to negotiation and execution of documentation before the transaction can be closed."

The deal between the Penguins and Fenway is estimated to be worth $900 million. Fenway and the Penguins announced a preliminary agreement on Nov. 29.

The SEA's move was widely expected, but their greenlight was critical to advance the deal: The authority owns PPG Paints Arena and rents it to the Penguins each year. It also owns most of the land in the Lower Hill that surrounds the arena, and the team is intricately involved with its redevelopment.

City officials say the Penguins’ obligations to the Lower Hill will remain, no matter who owns the franchise.

The area is currently covered in large parking lots. But work finished last month on a park that helps relink Downtown to the Lower Hill, and construction of the First National Bank tower is underway.

Margaret J. Krauss is WESA’s senior reporter. She covers development and transportation, and has produced award-winning podcasts on housing, work, and Pittsburgh’s lesser-known history. Before joining the newsroom full time, she covered the challenges facing Pennsylvania cities as a statewide reporter, and spent another life as an assistant editor for National Geographic Kids Magazine in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at mkrauss@wesa.fm.