Tempe backs proposal for Arizona Coyotes arena

Tempe City Council has voted to proceed with negotiations on the development of a wide-ranging entertainment district that would be anchored by a new arena for the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

The vote was welcomed by the Coyotes, which said the district represents an “incredible opportunity” for the team and the City of Tempe. The negotiation process is expected to take several months.

If negotiations are successful, a development agreement will be drafted and meetings will be held with the public prior to a City Council vote. The council voted 5-2 in favour of proceeding with negotiations.

In September, the Coyotes revealed plans for a $1.7bn (£1.35bn/€1.58bn) development in Tempe, with the project to include an arena that can seat around 16,000 fans. The arena has been designed by Manica Architecture. The complex would also include a 1,500-seat theatre space, offices, an apartment building, a hotel and shops.

The project would be largely funded by private investors, although the Coyotes will look to receive a portion of city sales tax revenues generated by the site to contribute towards $200m in additional costs. The project would be built on land south of the Salt River that has previously been used as a dump.

Tempe City Council had asked the Coyotes to put forward clarification on a number of undisclosed issues after viewing impact studies, projections and detailed information related to the project.

Following the council’s vote, Coyotes president and chief executive Xavier Gutierrez said: “This is step one and we know that the council made it clear that this begins that process and we’re very excited about it. Tonight is the night to give thanks and be humble and grateful. The work starts tomorrow. We think this project is completely compelling and we do believe it is an iconic and transformative project for the City of Tempe.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said that, if approved, the new arena would be awarded hosting rights to future editions of the league’s All-Star game and draft.

The 2021-22 NHL campaign marked the Coyotes’ last season at the 17,000-capacity Gila River Arena in Glendale. From next season, the team will play at a new arena being developed by Arizona State University (ASU).

The ASU arena will have a much smaller capacity of around 4,700 and the Coyotes are set to spend at least three seasons at the venue as the team continues efforts to secure a permanent home. Last month, the Coyotes engaged sports and entertainment company Oak View Group to help drive commercial revenues from its impending move to the ASU arena.

Image: Arizona Coyotes/Manica