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Coyotes Sue Phoenix for $2.3B with Arena Vote Looming

  • The Arizona Coyotes and city of Phoenix have dueling lawsuits.
  • The city is opposing the team's proposed development in Tempe.
Colorado Avalanche left wing Matt Nieto (83) and Arizona Coyotes defenseman Connor Mackey (12) battle for the puck during the third period at Mullett Arena.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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The Arizona Coyotes are biting back against their former hometown.

The team’s development firm countersued the city of Phoenix for attempting to sabotage a proposed development in neighboring Tempe.

The Coyotes are seeking $2.3 billion in damages — an amount equivalent to what it hopes to spend developing an arena, housing, retail, and restaurants in Tempe.

The dispute centers on the location of that proposed development, which Phoenix says violates an agreement about how close housing may be built to the city-owned Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The team has agreed to protect the airport from noise-related lawsuits, but Tempe hasn’t signed on to other key demands: that it wouldn’t build more housing in that area or oppose the airport’s future growth.

Artistic rendering of the proposed Tempe Arena development for the Arizona Coyotes.

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At an impasse, Phoenix sued last month to stop the project, asking Maricopa County to rescind the land use agreement that legally allows the development to move forward.

The dueling lawsuits could have a political impact as well: Tempe will put the decision of whether the Coyotes’ arena project should move forward in the hands of the voters in a special election on May 16.

The Coyotes are in desperate need of a new arena, as the team currently plays at Arizona State University’s Mullett Arena, which seats 4,600 for hockey games.

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