Tempe City Council Considers Study on Findings, Proposed Coyote Arena, Entertainment District

The fate of Coyote’s planned Tempe Arena and entertainment district could enter its home stretch. City staff are expected to present to Tempe City Council a combination of findings, research and progress made in negotiations with Coyotes on the outstanding issues surrounding the proposal. The council will consider that information in Thursday’s executive session before holding a public meeting later that evening.

Information submitted to the City Council by City officials in administrative sessions will not be discussed in public meetings.

Alderman Randy Keating attended the PHNX Coyote Show at the Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe on July 27 to discuss the status of the proposal ahead of the meeting.

“There are different issues that each council member brought to Coyote,” Keating said. “They’re working with coyotes to try and solve the problem of being out of place.”

Among these issues are noise and traffic concerns from nearby residents, the use of union labor for construction and future employment, financing structures, and a well-documented relationship with Sky Harbor International Airport officials. There are differences of opinion.

“After speaking with the mayor and colleagues, we hope to have this completed by the end of the year at the latest,” Keating said. “My preference is before the holiday season starts, because when you have all sorts of holiday events and things like that, it’s hard for the public to get involved. I would be thrilled if this was completed by Halloween.

Keating made it clear that it was Coyote’s duty to address the remaining issues, both with Congress and the public, while convincing all stakeholders that the project was the right move for the city. did.

“That’s what they have to do, because in the end we’re all politicians out there and nobody wants to do something very unpopular,” Keating said. “While Coyote is responsible for selling it, I believe the current structure of the contract allows it to be sold to the people of Tempe as long as it is done in a thoughtful manner.

“The reason I think this deal is different is that it’s fan-funded and I really appreciate how Coyote came up with that model. When I say, I say “I don’t want to pay either.” The problem is that if you don’t go to the game, the money won’t be spent on remediation of the land to build the arena. ”

Airports remain a problem in the eyes of Sky Harbor and Phoenix officials, particularly the construction of housing units along the Salt River, but Keating said city officials, including council, are threatening Tempe. and Phoenix have had different interpretations after the hearing. Coyote attorney Nick Wood will address the issue for the first time at the June 2nd meeting.

“I really felt the energy in the room change after Coyote gave his presentation, and I think you could see that in the public comments,” Keating said. “From the communication we got from the city, anecdotally, it went from being all negative to probably 50/50 in terms of agreeing or disagreeing.”

Here’s what Keating specifically said about the airport problem:

“It’s a complicated issue. Looking at the 1994 intergovernmental agreement, this seems absolutely permissible. I know Phoenix and Sky Harbor have different understandings of it. You could say our legal team is working on it, there are literally decades of documents they have to go through and all sorts of other contracts that could be in conflict. , on the part of the city of Tempe, great efforts are being made to see if this can be done legally. harbor and phoenix no one wants to do this in an ugly way we are a community of 20 or so municipalities everyone is trying to solve this problem in the friendliest possible way but i I am confident that we can solve

Some believe the pieces are important in order for Coyote to secure the necessary funding to build the project. Richard Rodier, a lawyer who previously worked for the NHLPA. Rodier also saved Phoenix from bankruptcy in 2009 in a billionaire bid to move the team to Southern Ontario, where he is the CEO of Research in Jim He is the chief adviser to Valsilly. served.

The Coyotes declined to comment on Rodier’s allegations.

On June 2nd, the Tempe City Council approved the RFP by a vote of 5 to 2, agreeing to proceed with negotiations with the Coyotes to build a new arena and entertainment district in Tempe. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman backed the plan “unconditionally”, adding that a 30-year non-transfer agreement would be required to underscore the league’s commitment to the Valley. Bettmann also promised Tempe to host the NHL All-Star Game and the NHL Draft if offered.

On September 2, 2021, the City of Tempe announced that Coyote was the only group to submit a proposal in response to a request for proposals for a project that would incorporate a professional sports franchise and an entertainment district on two city-owned parcels combined. Reported. 46 acres on the northeast corner of Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway. Located on the south bank of the Salt River, the site was previously used as a sand and gravel mining operation and a garbage dump.

The Coyotes are proposing a $1.7 billion development that includes a hockey arena, hotels, apartments, retail stores and a sportsbook. The team says the project will be privately funded, but hopes to use some of the city’s sales tax revenue generated by the development to pay for an additional $200 million.

Coyotes need to remove an estimated 1.5 million tons of trash from the site. The team will have to rehabilitate the site before construction begins, at a cost of about $70 million. The team will pay him $40 million to clean up the east lot, he will pay $8 million to repair the west lot, and the rest of the costs will be paid through bonds. The bond will also pay for infrastructure such as power lines, water, sewers, roads and parking lots in the northeast corner of the city-owned and operated property.

The team said the project could bring in $154 million in new taxes to the city over 30 years, bringing the city’s direct spending to $5.9 billion and creating 6,900 permanent jobs.

Keating noted that both Coyote and the city are seeking feedback from the public, but did not outline a specific schedule of events following Thursday’s meeting. A process that has already begun.

Keating also emphasized the importance of this decision in the context of the history of coyote storms in the Valley.

“Nobody wants a repeat of the past with this deal,” he said. “Anyone who votes for or against this agreement must defend their vote and it will be part of their legacy on the Council.

“There’s so much attention on this thing right now that everyone’s wisest, It has to be done in the most sustainable way.”

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