Voters Put Arizona Coyotes’ Arena Project on Ice
Voters cross-checked a proposed new stadium for the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, rejecting all three ballot measures connected to the $2.1 billion development scheme.
Tempe, Arizona, residents had been asked whether they’d approve of an arena deal that included about 2,000 apartments and several commercial properties. The Tempe City Council had given preliminary approval for the project earlier this year but wisely handed off the final decision to the electorate. Though ballots are still being counted, the tallied results show an apparent defeat for the project, and the team’s owner has conceded defeat, reports The Arizona Republic.
Tuesday’s results might finally ice the years-long effort to build the Coyotes yet another taxpayer-funded stadium in the Phoenix area. The team arrived from Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1996 and took up residence in the America West Arena (now known as the Talking Stick Resort Arena), which the city of Phoenix built in 1990 for $90 million for its professional basketball team, the Phoenix Suns. A few years later, the team and the NHL convinced the nearby city of Glendale, Arizona, to put up $155 million in bonds to build a new arena for the team. The Coyotes moved there in December 2003.
Glendale’s experience with the Coyotes was not a pleasant one. After the Coyotes’ previous owner put the team into bankruptcy in 2009, Glendale ended up paying the NHL $50 million over two years to keep the team from relocating. During that same period, the city had to lay off city workers, cut services, and raise taxes to close annual budget gaps. A new owner signed a 15-year lease with the city in 2013, but the city council voided that agreement in 2015, leaving the team without a permanent home. After the 2022 season, Glendale unceremoniously evicted the Coyotes, who played the current season in a 5,000-seat arena at Arizona State University.
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