City of Tempe to continue negotiations with Arizona Coyotes for entertainment district
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Arizona Coyotes need a new home, and the team hopes to build it in Tempe. Team executives issued a proposal to the Tempe City Council Thursday for a $2.1 billion state-of-the-art arena and entertainment district. It would be located along Tempe Town Lake, off Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive. On Thursday night, the council approved negotiations for the proposed arena and entertainment district on a 5-2 vote.
After the vote, the Coyotes issued a statement about the decision.
“We are extremely pleased that the Tempe City Council has voted to proceed with negotiations on development on the Tempe Entertainment District. Having heard all the facts, they have recognized the incredible opportunity that this project presents - not only for the Coyotes but also for the City of Tempe. We look forward to taking the next steps to turn this exciting vision into a reality”
During the meeting, team officials told councilmembers that the development would be privately funded and create close to 7,000 new jobs. The project would include a 16,000-seat hockey arena, retail stores, restaurants, a sportsbook, hotels, apartments and office space. Coyotes executives also released new renderings of the proposed arena. The renderings show the Tempe arena surrounded by 10 buildings to be used as hotels, offices or apartments. One of the photos also showed a strip of restaurants near a hotel building.
Representatives from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport also made a presentation at the meeting, expressing concerns about apartments being built too close to the airport. The proposed site is less than 2 miles away from the runway at Sky Harbor, which has some pilots and airport representatives against the idea. Some pilots even spoke about residential buildings being built too high and interfering with air traffic.
Chad Makovsky, Phoenix Director of Aviation Services also released a statement following the council’s vote.
“As neighboring cities, Phoenix and Tempe have a longstanding tradition of working together for the benefit of the entire community. We understand Tempe’s desire to develop this land east of the Airport, and Phoenix Sky Harbor is not in opposition to the Tempe Entertainment District development as a whole. Our concern has been and remains with the proposed residential high rise which would violate the terms of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between Phoenix and Tempe. If the residential building is not removed from the project, it jeopardizes the entire agreement. For nearly three decades this agreement has helped reduce the harmful effects of noise for Tempe residents. We are optimistic we can come to a mutually beneficial solution which will ensure compatible land use in the high-noise areas directly under Sky Harbor’s flight paths.”
Dozens of people gathered outside Tempe City Hall to let council members know how they should vote. Some Tempe residents were in support the development project, but others were not. Those for the proposal say it will bring jobs to the area and boost the local economy. However, those who voted no say it would bring too much traffic and increase the cost of living.
Olympian Lyndsey Fry was also in attendance at the meeting sporting her Coyotes jersey and showing her support for the proposal. Shane Doan, the Coyotes’ chief hockey development officer, also took to the stand to make his case during the meeting. “We need a place that is our own and somewhere where they want us and hopefully we get can get down here and this is something that works,” said Doan.
The City of Phoenix said their concerns aren’t about the arena. Instead, the proposed apartments go against their intergovernmental agreement with Tempe. “Building the arena itself is no problem. That’s clear, we’ve made that abundantly clear. The issue is being houses next to the arena,” said J. Cabou, the attorney representing the City of Phoenix Aviation Department.
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