Tempe leaders to vote June 2 on negotiating with Arizona Coyotes on proposed arena

·2 min read

Tempe leaders will take their first public vote June 2 on the Arizona Coyotes' bid to build an arena and entertainment district on city-owned land.

If the City Council votes "yes," it would trigger a months-long negotiations process between representatives of the NHL team and the city. Public meetings would be held and community input gathered in that time, according to the city.

A "no" vote would mean the council rejects the Coyotes' proposal. The council could seek more proposals to develop the city-owned land at Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive, along the dry Salt River just west of Tempe Town Lake.

The city issued a call for proposals last summer for a professional sports-anchored entertainment district. The Coyotes were the only respondent, proposing a $1.7 billion project with a hockey arena, hotels, apartments, restaurants and shops.

The proposal in September came just after Glendale officials announced they would not renew the team's lease to play at Gila River Arena. The team's tumultuous 19-year run in Glendale ended April 29.

For subscribers: Why airport officials are worried about Arizona Coyotes' proposal

Nearly 9 months of review

Tempe staffers have been analyzing the proposal since last September with the assistance of sports, legal and financial consultants.

The council got its first look at the proposal in April. It met behind closed doors to consult with attorneys and to review the staff's analysis. The city released a statement following the meeting indicating the council requested clarifications from the team.

Tempe officials announced Wednesday that it's now at a point where the council must decide whether to move forward with negotiations.

The 46 acres of city-owned land proposed for the arena and entertainment district is currently a compost yard and previously was used as a dump. Extensive remediation will be needed.

Although the Coyotes have committed to footing most of the bill for the project, they seek $200 million in city sales tax revenue generated by the development that would go toward remediation.

If Tempe leaders move forward with negotiations and ultimately OK a deal, the team would need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to develop the site since it's located under Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport's flight path.

Airport officials have already raised concerns over the proposal, citing the site's proximity to runways, building heights, construction equipment potentially impacting air traffic and fireworks and lighting that could interfere with aircraft performance.

The Coyotes recently addressed concerns about potential economic impacts that construction of the project could have on the airport. However, airport officials still assert the main issue is air traffic noise interfering with the apartments the team is proposing to build on the site.

Reach the reporter at rclo@arizonarepublic.com or at 480-267-4703. Follow her on Twitter @renataclo.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Tempe will take first vote on Arizona Coyotes' arena bid