It's funny. Our old arena was more on the west side of town and when they finally decided to build a new arena (after 30 years of debate and losing the Jets) for our AHL franchise (Moose), there was still a ton of debate. Most commentary was entirely negative - not enough parking, downtown is dangerous, this will put women at risk of rape because of the testosterone fueled males leaving the venue (I kid you not, this was a "legitimate" argument). But in the end it is a pretty positive thing, putting a ton of people downtown in the dead of winter. I won't go so far as to say it revitalized the area, but it certainly injected a lot of life and seems to be a good starting point. Hope you get yours in Pittsburgh.
Besides, I was just funning you. New agreement or not + a team folding does not mean it's coming back here. The arena is suitable, though small (16K), the interest is there and I'd contend the fanbase but we still have one problem. Deep pockets. No one around here is really capable/competent to be an owner. We could do the Edmonton thing with a group of owners but that's unlikely too. No, I don't think we'll be seeing the NHL back here.
It will be interesting to see which buildings are full early in the season. Pittsburgh should be one, Toronto will be another. After that?