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Old January 6th, 2006, 03:14 PM   #21
ohpenn
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I agree that the arena area of Uptown can be a great neighborhood again and act as an extension of development, not a wall.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 03:17 PM   #22
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Companies oppose latest North Shore casino proposal
Friday, January 06, 2006

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Two of the North Shore's largest stakeholders say a casino in their midst, whether beside PNC Park or near the Carnegie Science Center, could jeopardize possible development or expansion efforts.



Detroit businessman Don Barden wants to build this $300 million to $350 million casino on a 17-acre riverfront tract between the Carnegie Science Center and the West End Bridge.
Click drawing for larger version.



Representatives for Continental Real Estate Cos. and Equitable Resources said any casino would have a negative impact regardless of whether it's built between the stadiums or adjacent to one of them.

The two firms, along with the Pirates and Steelers, have long opposed a proposal by Alco Parking Corp. President Merrill Stabile to build a casino in a parking lot next to PNC Park.

But Equitable, Continental, the Steelers and Del Monte Foods Co. said they're equally opposed to the newest plan -- a proposal by Detroit businessman Don Barden to build a $300 million to $350 million casino and entertainment complex on the riverfront between the Carnegie Science Center and the West End Bridge. The Pirates said they would defer to the Steelers since Mr. Barden's proposed casino is closer to Heinz Field than PNC Park.

The 17-acre site, owned by MAXT Corp., a limited partnership controlled by Gateway Clipper Fleet owner Terry Wirginis, would feature a two-story casino, plus four restaurants, a sports bar, a beer garden, a coffee shop, two nightclubs and a 1,000-seat amphitheatre.

Barry Ford, Continental's president of development, said a casino could jeopardize future office and residential projects planned in the area. Continental was hired by the Steelers and the Pirates to redevelop the sea of asphalt between the two stadiums. Both Equitable and Del Monte Foods have built new headquarters there.

"In talking to the Equitables of the world, I know businesses aren't going to locate in a casino development. I know people aren't going to want to move to, buy a condo in, or lease an apartment in a casino [area] or adjacent to a casino," Mr. Ford said.

Patricia Kornick, a spokeswoman for Equitable Resources, said a casino "remains a deterrent" to any plans the company might have for expanding its North Shore headquarters.

She would not say, however, whether a North Shore gambling venue, if awarded the city's slots license, would cause the company to move elsewhere.

But not everybody is opposed to a casino next door.

Betsy Momich, spokeswoman for the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, said Mr. Barden's proposed casino shouldn't have any negative impact on operations at the Carnegie Science Center "if it's done well."

"If the planning and building is as it should be we don't have a concern with it," she said.

Mr. Barden said he plans to meet with all of the stakeholders on the North Shore to discuss his proposal. He believes that once those opposed see the details and understand his plans, they will have a different reaction.

He said one of the benefits of his proposal is a 4,000-space parking garage that would be built near the casino and which could help alleviate the off-street parking problems that occur in North Side neighborhoods during Steelers and Pirates games.

He also believes the casino will enhance housing, pointing out that some of the most expensive real estate in the country is in gambling mecca Las Vegas.

"All of this complements the redevelopment of the riverfront," he said of his proposal. "We did a lot of studies to make sure it blends in. It helps to complete the whole development stretch. This property is separate and distinct. It is far enough away that it should not have an impact."

Mr. Barden also said he might be willing to help in the funding of a proposed light rail transit stop and 1,700-space parking garage being planned by the Port Authority of Allegheny County near the science center.

He estimates that his casino, once it reaches 5,000 slot machines, will generate $230 million for the state each year at a 54 percent tax rate and $22 million for the city of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Stabile, meanwhile, is teaming with former executives from the Mandalay Resort Group in Las Vegas on a proposed $385 million casino and entertainment development near PNC Park he described as "very conservative and self-sustaining."

He said many of the casino proposals statewide feature mixed development like offices, housing or entertainment, including a $1 billion proposal by the Penguins and Isle of Capri Casinos to build an arena and redevelop the lower Hill District. "In my opinion, that validates my notion that these interests are all compatible," he said. "If I really felt these interests were incompatible I wouldn't have taken it this far."
I doubt with the Pens/Isle of Capri proposal that any other one has a real chance of becoming reality and in fact the Pens plan is the best of the city.

Regardless, I don't think that a casino on the North Shore makes sense, though I really don't like the idea of it being next to the new arena either. The best place for one is adjacent to Station Square but that is private property and a separate bid.
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Old January 10th, 2006, 01:11 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Southtowner
I've read about the planned development for the arena area. I think it's great that they are going to restore the street grid. Pittsburgh is so tiny (which actually works to make it very dense - a positive attribute) that the new streets pattern should also expand the scope of downtown somewhat. Not to mention that it will help to undo the horrible 'city planning' of the 40's and 50's that cut off the lower Hill from downtown. I always hated the way that barren, desolate parking lot surrounded the arena...so cold and empty. If you look at pictures of what was torn down, it appears to have been a very densely packed neighborhood of retail and residential. Granted, it was probably derelict. But had it been saved, it could have been rehabbed into a viable neighborhood today. Downtown is beginning to see residential life come back. The new arena plan includes residential, which is great.
great renderings of the arena i must say
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Old January 11th, 2006, 07:59 PM   #24
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18 ELECTED LEADERS ENDORSE PENGUINS’ PLAN FOR NEW ARENA, CASINO, DEVELOPMENT

01/11/2006

‘Pittsburgh First’ project has support from state, city and county representatives

A delegation of 18 prominent western Pennsylvania elected officials representing the state, city and county endorsed the Pittsburgh Penguins’ plan for a new arena, casino and accompanying development on Wednesday.

In conjunction with Isle Of Capri Casinos and Nationwide Realty, the Penguins recently announced their plan for a development project totaling more than $1 billion, on and near the site currently occupied by 45-year-old Mellon Arena. Isle of Capri has applied for the Pittsburgh slots license, and, if successful, will fully fund construction of a new multi-purpose arena that will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the long-term. The Penguins, Isle of Capri, Nationwide Realty and various community groups have united in this project under the banner of “Pittsburgh First.”

The group of elected officials includes state senators and state representatives as well as members of Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Council.

They are state senators Jim Ferlo, Jane Orie, Jay Costa and John Pippy; state representatives Frank Dermody, Dan Frankel, Joe Preston, Joe Markosek, Mark Gergely, Paul Costa, Sean Ramaley, Frank LaGrotta and Nick Kotik; county councilman Bill Robinson; city council president Luke Ravenstahl and city council members Bill Peduto, Jim Motznik and Tonya Payne.

The elected leaders became the latest group to endorse the Penguins’ plan. They called for the entire western Pennsylvania region to put the public interest first and unite behind the proposal to use Pittsburgh’s gaming license profits to spur the comprehensive billion-dollar development project that will produce thousands of jobs and new businesses, revitalize the Uptown and Hill communities and generate millions of dollars of revenue for the region, in addition to providing a new, state-of-the art arena for concerts, children’s shows, circus events, skating shows and a wide range of sporting events, including Penguins hockey.

State Senator Jane Orie said, “The Penguins’ proposal is a win-win situation for both the City of Pittsburgh and the region as a whole. This proposal will provide a new, state-of-the-art, multi-use facility to residents of the region without using taxpayer dollars.”

State Senator Jay Costa stated, “Pittsburgh First represents one of the largest economic development projects in the history of western Pennsylvania, including a $1 billion investment in the future that will produce thousands of jobs, new businesses, millions of dollars in revenue to the city and county, the revitalization of a neighborhood, a privately-funded arena and a world-class gaming facility. Most of all, this economic development project will put the people of western Pennsylvania first.”

State Representative Frank Dermody, chairman of the Democratic Allegheny County Delegation, added, “I believe the gaming license should be used to benefit the entire region – not just one developer or one company – by serving as the engine to spur one of the largest economic development projects in the history of the region. This is why I want all the public and private leaders in western Pennsylvania to join us in doing what is right for the people – unite in supporting this project.”

Since the project was announced shortly before Christmas, Pittsburgh First has continued to generate more and more support, with leading civic, religious, political, business and community leaders and organizations endorsing the project. They include Barbara McNeese, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce; Kathryn Klaber, executive vice president of the Allegheny County Conference of Economic Development; Jack Brooks, executive secretary of the Greater Pittsburgh Regional Council of Carpenters; the Reverend James Simms, former president of Allegheny County Council; and the Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 08:51 PM   #25
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I'm oppossed to NHL teams moving to non-hockey cities, so whatever Pittsburgh needs to do, I hope it happens and the team stays put.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 11:52 PM   #26
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^ I am too, the Penguins BELONG in Pittsburgh.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 03:21 PM   #27
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More progess in East Liberty.


Quote:
Hotel, condominiums planned

By Sam Spatter and Kim Leonard
FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, January 13, 2006


A proposed Holiday Inn with enough parking to serve hotel guests and residents of a condominium building next door is the latest evidence that East Liberty's long-planned revitalization finally is taking hold, community leaders say.
Within the next two weeks, Pittsburgh's Zoning Board of Adjustment is expected to approve Terminus Real Estate's plan for a seven-story, 150-room hotel adjacent to the century-old Highland Building on South Highland Avenue.

The Knoxville, Tenn.-based developer also intends to convert the 13-story Highland structure into 84 condominiums.

Construction on both projects would cost a combined $25 million to $30 million and could be complete by 2008.

Board members indicated at a hearing Thursday that they'll approve the plan, which includes demolition of the three-story Stadterman Building at South Highland and Centre avenues, on what would become the hotel site. The developer needs the board's approval because the current zoning would allow only 40 hotel rooms.

"I couldn't be more excited about it," said Rob Stephany, director of commercial development for the East Liberty Development Corp. "In one fell swoop, the development team figured out how to park both the Highland Building and the hotel."

Rooms in the $17.8 million, full-service Holiday Inn would sit atop four levels of parking -- three above ground -- with a total 241 spaces. About 90 spaces would serve the condominiums, and the rest would be available for the hotel and the public.

The hotel also would have a restaurant and health club, and retail space is planned on the first floor of the Highland Building.

Terminus plans to demolish the Stadterman Building in the spring, said William R. Bannow, a local construction manager representing the development firm.

The city's Urban Redevelopment Authority now owns the Highland Building, an abandoned office tower, and has removed asbestos and lead paint there. Terminus would do more interior demolition after acquiring it.

Bannow said Terminus was impressed by the success of a Courtyard by Marriott hotel near Shadyside Hospital and the Hillman Cancer Center and realized that another hotel in the growing academic and medical community could do well.


Home Depot, Whole Foods Market, Shop 'n Save and other businesses have moved into East Liberty and thrived, with more retail construction and a facelift for the rundown shopping area along Broad Street under way.

"All of a sudden there are businesses that wouldn't have considered East Liberty, (but now are) at least thinking about it," said Paul Brecht, executive director of the community's chamber of commerce
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Old January 18th, 2006, 02:36 PM   #28
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For what it is worth Federated Department Stores is gathering information on the Buffalo and Pittsburgh markets along with four others for a 2007 expansion of the Bloomingdales chain.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 08:04 PM   #29
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For what it is worth Federated Department Stores is gathering information on the Buffalo and Pittsburgh markets along with four others for a 2007 expansion of the Bloomingdales chain.
A local mall owner revealed that one would be coming. I would prefer that if there is one store, then it go to downtown, which would be central to all and obviously help the downtown retail area as well, but I expect that they will move into a mall, especially when it's easy to move into one of the closed Federated stores (with malls that had both Macy's and Kaufmann's).
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 09:26 PM   #30
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Quote:
Station Square slots casino details unveiled
Monday, January 23, 2006

By Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Harrah's and Forest City Enterprises unveiled their Station Square casino plans today, proposing a $512 million casino, more than 1,200 condominium units and several hundred new hotel rooms, a sweeping facelift of what is already considered Pittsburgh's top tourist destination.

In all, the companies are proposing $1 billion in new development. Construction could begin immediately after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board awards the casino licenses, said Jan Jones, a senior vice president with Harrah's and former mayor of Las Vegas.

Harrah's and Forest City are in competition with three other outfits, all of which are seeking the lone license available for a casino to be built within Pittsburgh's city limits. Harrah's and Forest City are considered one of two frontrunners, the other being the Isle of Capri, a riverboat casino company that has partnered with the Pittsburgh Penguins and pledged to build a new hockey venue to replace Mellon Arena.

Forest City has made no such pledge. The main community investment component of the Forest City plan is a $25 million endowment for the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and a $1 million community investment fund that would be headed by former Steelers running back Franco Harris.

The Harrah's casino complex, with 400,000 square feet of floor space, is roughly the size of seven football fields and is the largest of the casinos so far proposed for the City of Pittsburgh. The casino would sit on the west side of the Station Square complex, displacing the concert amphitheater that sits there now.

The condominium towers would be to the east of the Smithfield Street Bridge, likely displacing the warehouse building that is now home to several nightclubs.

The Isle of Capri bid is a better deal for the city, but this is the best location.

The housing development looks great. They don't need a casino to accomplish that though. A nice cluster of condo towers would fit well east of Station Square and offer great city views with close proximity.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 12:46 AM   #31
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It's a pretty good proposal... but I prefer redeveloping the struggling lower Hill District as opposed to further developing Station Square.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 05:05 AM   #32
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I prefer a logical place for the casino (touristy station square where casino traffic and concerns won't mess up downtown or a city neighborhood like the Hill) and want the Hill rebuilt... and don't see why the eastern edge of Station Square can't be built up - the land is there for condos and residents can have access to the T from there, as well as buses, or even walking to downtown.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 01:50 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohpenn
I doubt with the Pens/Isle of Capri proposal that any other one has a real chance of becoming reality and in fact the Pens plan is the best of the city.

Regardless, I don't think that a casino on the North Shore makes sense, though I really don't like the idea of it being next to the new arena either. The best place for one is adjacent to Station Square but that is private property and a separate bid.
Looks like Pittsburgh is copying Buffalo on this one, there is a new Casino going up next door to the relatively new HSBC Arena in Buffalo, with a Bass Pro Store going in on the next block in the old Memorial Auditorium. Is Pgh planning on tearing down the Civic Arena or is it going to be converted to another use?
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Old January 28th, 2006, 07:38 PM   #34
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If the Pens Casino plan goes forward, then the old arena will be torn down and replaced with a mixed use development, which would be in that it would recreate the neighborhood that was leveled to create the old arena.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 06:34 PM   #35
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Pittsburgh ranks 39th out of 50 metro areas for small business
City slips by Hartford, Conn., but trails Cleveland
Pittsburgh ranks 39th out of the nation's top 50 metropolitan areas for small businesses, according to a new study.

But several local business people say the relatively low mark was a better ranking than they expected for the city.

The study was conducted by Bizjournals.com, part of American City Business Journals, the Pittsburgh Business Times' corporate parent. It looked at changes in population, the number of small businesses, number of all businesses, number of private-sector employees and total of private-sector payrolls from 2000 to 2003 in the country's 50 largest markets.

Pittsburgh ranked just ahead of Hartford, Conn., and just behind Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Philadelphia ranked 24th.

The five best markets, in order, were Miami-Fort Lauderdale; Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Seattle. The bottom five markets included Detroit; San Antonio; Cincinnati; San Jose, Calif.; and Memphis, Tenn.

Ann Dugan, executive director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh, characterized Pittsburgh's ranking as "pretty good."

"We hear about the population leaving, the 'brain drain,' and so forth," Dugan said. "In one sense, to be included in the top 50, it means we haven't lost as much as we sometimes think we have."

Mitch Dexter, who started his own small business, a New York NY Fresh Deli franchise in Collier Township, last July, also said the ranking exceeded his expectations.

"I'm surprised that we made No. 39. It seems like everything's leaving our city," Dexter said.

Dugan said if state and local governments want to improve the climate for small businesses, they should look at cutting taxes and reducing regulations.

"We do make entrepreneurs work very hard to figure out what the regulations are," she said. "The more that we can reduce taxes so that it's financially viable to open a business locally and reduce ... a maze of regulations between townships and counties and state governments, the more we can do to streamline that to make it easier for an entrepreneur to start and grow a business."

For instance, when Dexter opened his deli last summer, the township required him to install a grease trap. "We don't have grease; we don't have fryers or anything," he said. "We're cutting deli meats. There's a little bit of fat, but no grease."

Residents also can do something to make it easier for businesses to grow, Dugan said, starting with bringing an end to a longtime tradition in many Pittsburgh neighborhoods where parking is scarce.

"Every time you put your chair out to mark your parking space," it could be hurting a business by giving its customers less opportunity to conveniently park their cars, Dugan said. "Everyone has to come together and think of these things."

Dexter said Western Pennsylvania has its advantages, such as a relatively low cost of labor. On average, he pays his employees about $7 per hour, which he said was slightly below the national average. The Pittsburgh area also has an advantage in relative freedom of whom to hire, he said. Some municipalities require hiring an architect to get a project approved, Dexter said. However, small businesses still must overcome plenty of hurdles to survive and grow, he said.

Dexter is looking to open a second Western Pennsylvania franchise Downtown, where he's looking at rental rates of $22 to $25 per square foot. But a colleague in downtown Cincinnati, he said, pays just $12 per square foot.
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 07:55 PM   #36
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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06033/648378.stm

Condo developer eyes Fifth-Forbes corridor
Proposes residential development, market in old G.C. Murphy's, retail shops for ragtag shopping district
Thursday, February 02, 2006

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



The developer who is building an 82-unit condominium tower on Fort Pitt Boulevard, Downtown, is setting his sights on the Fifth and Forbes retail corridor.

Ralph Falbo plans to meet with Mayor Bob O'Connor later this month to pitch his own plan for redeveloping the ragtag shopping district. It would include several hundred condominiums and apartments, a market in the former G.C. Murphy's store, and some retail shops.

The proposal could end up competing with a retail and residential complex being advanced for lower Fifth Avenue by Washington D.C.-based developer Madison Marquette, working with the private Pittsburgh Task Force and Montgomery County residential builder Toll Brothers.

Madison Marquette also is looking at housing, plus upscale retail, in city-owned structures in the corridor, including the Murphy's building. It is trying to entice trendy retailers like Crate and Barrel and Tiffany & Co. to locate in the corridor.

Its proposal would cost from $50 million to $60 million. There would be about $24 million in state and other public subsidies.

Mr. Falbo decided to offer a comprehensive plan for the corridor -- he previously had touted the idea of a market in the Murphy's building -- after Mr. O'Connor, since becoming mayor in January, decided to entertain proposals from all developers, not just Madison Marquette.

"It certainly ought to have a strong degree of local involvement. We tried the other way enough times," said Mr. Falbo, referring to the previous attempts at recruiting national developers to remake Fifth and Forbes avenues.

Mr. Falbo said his proposal not only would include the reuse of existing structures in the corridor, but also a "very large new addition" and possibly others. He said he also intends to preserve historical structures.

He is working with EQA Landmark Communities, his partner in the 151 First Side condominium tower on Fort Pitt Boulevard, and a New York financial organization he declined to name.

Mr. Falbo has yet to come up with a firm cost estimate, saying there are still questions about the underground parking he desires as part of the project. He said he is ready to undertake the redevelopment if the city and the Urban Redevelopment Authority are willing to relinquish the buildings they own in the corridor to him.

"If we can get accepted, we're committed," he said.

Mr. O'Connor confirmed that he has a meeting scheduled later this month with Mr. Falbo, as well as one next week with Madison Marquette. He said he is looking for the best proposal for the city.

He said interest in the corridor has picked up with the proposal by PNC Financial Services Group to build a $170 million office tower on Fifth across from G.C. Murphy's and the planned $49 million redevelopment of the Lazarus-Macy's store at Fifth and Wood Street by Washington County developer Millcraft Industries Inc.

"The timing is good for us to start listening to proposals. We have an opportunity to evaluate them all and pick the best one for Pittsburgh. This is almost like starting over again," Mr. O'Connor said. "Good people are coming to us. We're at a different time. This is a good time to start listening to proposals and evaluating them."

He added he still would like to make a decision on a plan for the corridor by summer. He said he would like to do so in consultation with Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, PNC, Millcraft, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and other stakeholders.

Herb Burger, chairman of the Pittsburgh Task Force, which recruited Madison Marquette, said he could not comment on a possible competitive bid, adding that "at this intersection, that is the province of Mayor O'Connor."
His interest in the corridor has been noted before, but not exactly how expansive it was. I hope that a worthy local contender is considered and I would like to hear more details of

Quote:
would include the reuse of existing structures in the corridor, but also a "very large new addition" and possibly others.
Hmmm....
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Old February 6th, 2006, 04:03 AM   #37
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CONGRATS STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!! THE SUPERBOWL XL CHAMPIONS!!!!
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Old February 6th, 2006, 05:21 AM   #38
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CONGRATS STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!! THE SUPERBOWL XL CHAMPIONS!!!!
steelers bring the lombardi trophy home!!!!!!!!!!!! the "bus" said he's officially retiring. well atleast he's retiring a WINNER. big ben has his first of MANY superbowl rings. cowher finally gets first superbowl victory. hines ward named MVP. BREAK OUT THE TERRIBLE TOWELS, steel city!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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Old February 6th, 2006, 10:20 AM   #39
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Big Seahawks fan here!

Officiating is just something that all teams have to deal with. The Steelers had some fucked up calls against them when they played the Colts and still came out on top. I love my Seahawks but you have got to give it up to the Steelers, they played like champions.

Congrats Steelers. Good Game
I posted this in the sky bar in response to people complaining about the officiating.
I love Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu
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Old February 6th, 2006, 04:32 PM   #40
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I think for the Steelers, the story remembered will be the road traveled to the Superbowl. Nothing against the Superbowl, but everyone had Indy in the game from day one.

Congrats to Seattle for a great season and good game as well.

What a way for the Bus to go. Go Stillers!
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