NHL ice hockey franchise the Arizona Coyotes has submitted a bid for land to develop a new arena in the city of Tempe as it seeks to secure a long-term home.
The City of Tempe yesterday (Thursday) announced that one submission had been received in response to its Request for Proposals (RFP), issued in July, for a mixed-use project incorporating a professional sports franchise and entertainment district for two parcels of city-owned land totalling 46 acres.
According to state procurement law, only the names of entities responding to an RFP can be revealed at the time the RFP closes. The City said the name in this instance is Bluebird Development, LLC, with the Coyotes later confirming that it had entered the submission.
“We are pleased to have submitted a proposal to the City of Tempe,” the Coyotes said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “As regulations surrounding the RFP process dictate, we cannot comment any further at this time, but we remain incredibly excited about this extraordinary opportunity.”
The Coyotes in July confirmed that it was “highly interested” in pursuing an opportunity for a new arena in Tempe after the city issued the RFP. The Coyotes currently play at Gila River Arena (pictured) in Glendale. The team has played at the venue since 2016 and signs a year-to-year lease with operator AEG Facilities.
The Coyotes were taken over by Alex Meruelo in June 2019 and the ownership team has targeted a new arena in Phoenix’s East Valley region. The Coyotes had previously been linked to a new arena and it had been suggested that the team would move to Houston, Texas if it did not get sufficient investment from Glendale, which is located northwest of Phoenix.
The prospect of a new arena in Tempe, which is located just east of Phoenix, has emerged following the RFP. The site proposed by Tempe is currently occupied by the city’s public works and compost yard.
The need for the Coyotes to secure a new home intensified last month after the City of Glendale broke off talks over a new lease deal at Gila River Arena. The city authority explained the decision by posting on Twitter that it wanted to focus on “larger, more impactful events and uses” for the arena beyond the conclusion of the current lease, which runs until the end of the 2021-22 season.
Since 2016, the Coyotes and the city have had an annual lease arrangement, with the local authority having repeatedly opted against a long-term agreement.
The City of Tempe said yesterday that it anticipates the next steps in the evaluation process of the Coyotes’ offer will take many months and will include extensive examinations, as well as opportunities for community feedback. The Arizona Republic newspaper, citing sources close to the deal, said Tempe could award a contract by the end of the year.
The Coyotes have called Gila River Arena home since 2003, having previously shared a venue with NBA team the Phoenix Suns. The Coyotes were formed in 1996 after the team formerly known as the Winnipeg Jets relocated to Arizona.