The news started circulating Friday morning that the Civic Arena may be blown up in the new Batman movie that's gonna start filming whenever.
If you want all the details, head over to this link.
If you want our Cliffs Notes version which most likely is not accurate, pay attention for two minutes.
1. September 2010 — Civic Arena was all set to be demolished.
2. November 2010 — The Historical Society says f that, and the Civic Arena is saved.
3. February 2011 — Apparently there's something called the Pittsburgh Film Office, and they started their annual budget PR campaign 4 months earlier than usual, mainly because of the new Pennsylvania governor that was elected or something. Not important. The PFO wanted $60 million for their budget. The Pittsburgh Film Office also casually let everyone know that Batman director Christopher Nolan was thinking about filming in Pittsburgh.
4. Timeout: Long story short, this came down to cash money. If Nolan's Batman spends 60% of their budget in the state, the movie studio receives a 25% tax credit from Pennsylvania. Around this time, it was looking like filming in Pittsburgh would take place over the course of one month, and that schedule and budget wouldn't meet the criteria for the tax credit. If only they could blow something up…
5. Enter the elephant in the city: Civic Arena. It costs money to demolish buildings; case closed. Which probably had something to do with the Historical Society's initial decision to not demolish the Civic Arena.
6. March 2011 — The PFO gets their $60-million budget. Miraculously, the Historical Society abandons the Civic Arena and is no longer in support of keeping the Civic Arena standing. And then, miraculously, the SEA (the Sports and Exhibition Authority, who is in charge of both Civic Arena and CONSOL Energy Center) decides that they're going to abandon the Civic Arena, as well.
7. April 2011 — It is announced that Pittsburgh was chosen as a prime filming location for the Batman movie.
Reading between the lines, here's what happened:
1. The trump card in bringing Batman to Pittsburgh involved someone going to Nolan and saying, "Hey, if you come here, we'll let you blow the shit out of the Civic Arena." Nolan looked at the Civic Arena, appreciated its gloomy and somewhat-emo aura, and said, "Oh, man."
2. Everyone wins.
-The Historical Society can just say, "Meh."
-The SEA finally washes their hands of the Mellon Arena.
-The Commonwealth lets someone else foot the bill for the Arena destruction.
-The city gets rid of Civic Arena and gets huge exposure in a blockbuster movie.
-The Pittsburgh Film Office gets their budget and can make out with themselves about Batman filming in Pittsburgh.
-Christopher Nolan can blow something up on a massive scale, which we're guessing would propel their filming budget in the state to over 60% and they'll get their tax credit.
Now, this is all speculation, including some of the stuff we've said in this post. And we're not even sure if any of this is legal.