Firm buys name rights at center for a cool $750,000 |

Firm buys name rights at center for a cool $750,000

For $750,000, the Massachusetts-based energy company Noresco has nabbed the naming rights of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center’s third-floor terrace.

The Sports & Exhibition Authority’s board of directors — which oversees the convention center, Heinz Field and PNC Park — unanimously accepted Noresco’s offer during its meeting Wednesday morning.

The board pledged months ago that it would not sell naming rights to the entire convention center, explaining that the center’s namesake — a former city mayor — is too important to Pittsburghers. But the board has been seeking bids for just about every other feature of the convention center.

Dollar Bank was the first to bite, by having bought naming rights to the main ballroom. The $1 million-plus deal was announced in May.

Ted O’Brien, president of Noresco, said he wants to do more than stick a sign bearing his company logo on the 600-foot terrace.

“We’ve already invested $8 million in the convention center’s infrastructure,” O’Brien said, referring to the water chiller that Noresco installed in the center’s basement. “We want something special for the building.”

The water chiller taps into an aquifer beneath the convention center, cooling the environmentally friendly building, O’Brien said. O’Brien said the SEA pays for the chilled water but didn’t pay for the chiller.

If necessary, the chiller also can cool the proposed 500-room, $104 million hotel that SEA officials are trying to have built next to the convention center.

O’Brien said his company is working on an educational plaque for the terrace, noting that the massive center is cooled without harming the environment.

Noresco will pay the authority $150,000 a year for the next five years, O’Brien said, and will own the terrace’s naming rights for the next two decades.

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