Someday, the Adirondack Phantoms will move to Allentown. We promise.
Construction is indeed underway on the new 8,500-seat hockey arena in the Lehigh Valley, but legal issues and funding concerns have delayed things considerably. Now, a planned fall 2013 opening of the new building is off, and the Phantoms will not be playing all of their home games in Pennsylvania again until at least the fall of 2014.
For months, city officials and team owners, while acknowledging that the project was months behind schedule, have consistently said they were planning to have the arena open for the 2013-14 hockey season.
But that's not the story being presented to prospective buyers of the bonds that will fund the arena, office building and hotel project at Seventh and Hamilton streets. Documents being used this month to sell $234 million worth of revenue bonds clearly - and repeatedly - list substantial completion of the project as "no later than August 1, 2014."
"The Arena is scheduled to open for the 2014 hockey season," according to a statement on Page 7 of documents drawn up to attract buyers for the bond sale.
The Brooks Group bought the Phantoms from Comcast-Spectacor in 2009. With the then-planned demolition of the Spectrum looming, they relocated the team to Glens Falls, always with the intention of ultimately relocating the team to Allentown. An original two-year lease (09/10, 10/11) with the Glens Falls Civic Center was extended two extra years (11/12, 12/13) with another option for a third (13/14). The Phantoms signed a 29-year lease in Allentown late last year.
With the Allentown arena now hitting another snag, hockey fans in the Lehigh Valley must wait another year before getting their team. Hockey fans in Glens Falls, meanwhile, will likely get to keep their team for a fifth season.