Tempe City Council votes 7-0 in favor of proposed Coyotes arena

Arizona coyotes are one step closer to securing their new long-term home in the desert.

On Tuesday night, the Tempe City Council voted 7-0 in favor of the Coyotes’ proposed 16,000-seat arena and surrounding entertainment district. In total, the project is expected to cost $2.1 billion.

The council’s vote indicates Tempe management’s view of the proposal. The next (and potentially final) step in the approval process is a referendum, with Tempe citizens voting on the issue on May 16, 2023.

The Coyotes currently play at the 4,600-seat Mullett Arena on the campus of Arizona State University. They are looking to build their proposed entertainment district about two miles west of ASU at the northeast corner of Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive.

The city of Tempe present an analysis during Tuesday’s council meeting suggesting taxpayers will be on the hook for $209 million to $229 million in bonds to fund public infrastructure improvements, that remediation of the future site of the arena (currently serving as a compost yard), creation of new roads and strengthening of the banks of the adjacent Salt River.

A host of Coyotes representatives — including owner Alex Meruelo, CEO Xavier Gutierrez, general manager Bill Armstrong and longtime captain Shane Doan — spoke during Tuesday’s board meeting. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also attended and answered questions from the media.

As part of his comments during the session, Bettman confirmed The Coyotes are willing to sign a 30-year non-relocation agreement if the proposal moves forward. He also said the league would bring a draft or all-star game to the new Tempe arena.

The Coyotes previously played at Gila River Arena (now Desert Diamond Arena) in Glendale, a distant Phoenix suburb, from 2003 to 2022. The city of Glendale elected to terminate its lease with the team on the eve of the 2021–22 season.

After the council’s unanimous vote, the Coyotes shared a statement on social media calling the proposed entertainment district a “huge win” for the community that will turn a “warehouse into a landmark.”

The Coyotes (7–10–3) have played to shutout each of their first four games of the season at Mullett Arena. They’re currently in the midst of an NHL record-tying 14-game road trip, and they’ll return to ASU — with NHL-standard locker rooms finally built — to take on the Boston Bruins on Dec. 9.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *