New entertainment district in the works in Tempe

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On May 16, Tempe residents will vote on a new sports and entertainment district that would include a hockey area for the Arizona Coyotes along with 2,000 apartment units. The proposed plan is being strongly opposed by a resident group, who call themselves “The Grassroots.” They argue a new entertainment district is not needed as one already exists at Tempe Town Lake. For more on this, we welcomed Dawn Penich-Thacker of Agave Strategy.

Recently the city of Phoenix filed a lawsuit against the Tempe regarding this project. According to the reports, the Tempe agreed to only build to a certain point to avoid noise complaints in Phoenix.

“This comes back to the developer being untrustworthy,” said Penich-Thacker. “I obviously can’t speak for either city, but I know a lot of Tempe residents are saying “well, this is nothing new.”

According to Penich-Thacker, the city of Phoenix, the FAA and the airport have had reservations about this project for years.

The Arizona Coyotes say this project would create $12,050 million in new tax revenue, make $500 million in financial benefits and clean up a land fill on their dime. However, the critics say this would hurt Tempe tax payers and businesses.

“Here’s the facts, there are two property tax brakes built into this agreement, prop 303, that the city itself says is worth 500 million dollars,” said Penich-Thacker. “When the developer is not the one paying, the 500 million dollar bill, that bill doesn’t poof, disappear; it means that we existing tax payers and businesses are paying the bill for him.”

Penich-Thacker notes that only the area itself is privately financed.

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