A New Coyotes Arena in Tempe

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The Arizona Coyotes are trying to build a new arena/entertainment district in Tempe. Coyotes team owner Alex Meruelo plans to build a $2.1 billion hockey arena and adjoining entertainment and residential complex on 46 acres of city-owned land at Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive, just west of Tempe Town Lake, on a site long used as a landfill.

It also sits directly under a major flight path, less than two miles east of Sky Harbor International Airport. Phoenix and airport officials have balked at the plan from the start and have threatened litigation to stop the project. Sam Kmack of the Arizona Republic explains more.

Where is this project standing?

According to Kmack, who’s been covering this topic, the City Council voted to declare their intention in sending this project to a ballot. The city will have to approve the plans later in the month of November. During that same meeting, they will vote on wether or not this proposition will get sent to a special election in May. If that happens, voters would be the ones in charge of making the final decision.

What amenities/facilities would this district offer?

“It’s a whole entertainment district, so they got restaurants, stores, they plan the hockey arena obviously and apartments,” said Kmack. “Apartments are the most controversial piece, but all of that together is needed to sort of make the stadium or arena financially doable.”

Property Tax Exemption

“The Coyotes are paying the vast majority of his project. They’re collecting a small portion of sales tax to pay for the land clean up and start up cost, and then they are covering the rest,” said Kmack. “But what they’re asking for is that property tax break for thirty years.” According to Kmack, compared to other stadiums in Phoenix, this is a moderated ask for the city.

Sam Kmack, The Arizona Republic

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