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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Arizona Coyotes’ Fate in Voters’ Hands

  • The city of Tempe will put a decision on the Arizona Coyotes' next home before the voters.
  • A referendum is scheduled for May.
Arizona-Coyotes
Arizona Coyotes

The fate of the Arizona Coyotes rests in the hands of the public.

The Tempe city council voted unanimously to put a proposed new arena and surrounding development before a voter referendum in May 2023.

  • For the vote to proceed, the city council first must approve several agreements related to the project’s zoning, development, and general plan.
  • Bluebird Development, owned by Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo, has proposed a $2.1 billion development including a 16,000-seat arena, a practice facility, hotels, retail, apartments, and a theater.

Following a dispute with the city of Glendale over Gila River Arena, the team moved to Arizona State University’s Mullett Arena — whose 5,100-capacity facility is less than a third of the size of every other NHL arena.

Fierce Election Coming

While Arizona just went through two closely contested elections for governor and U.S. senator, it will have another political battle on its hands if the May referendum proceeds as planned.

The Coyotes’ project is opposed by the city of Phoenix, which claims that plans for 1,000 residential units violate its land use agreement with Tempe.

Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport have also raised concerns about the development being in its flight path. The project will likely need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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