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Arizona Coyotes’ new Tempe arena and entertainment district approved by council

US$2.1bn project includes 16,000-seater arena, two hotels and 1,600 apartments.

1 Dec 2022 Ed Dixon

Arizona Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes’ plans for a new arena have moved a step closer after the Tempe City Council unanimously approved the National Hockey League (NHL) franchise’s project.

The Coyotes put forward a proposal for a new arena and entertainment district in September 2021, which will span 46 acres and is set to cost US$2.1 billion. The build includes a 16,000-seater arena, a practice rink, two hotels, retail shops, 1,600 apartments, a theatre and a sportsbook.

The franchise says it will invest US$2.1 billion in private funds for the arena project ‘without raising taxes or using current city revenues by issuing public infrastructure bonds sold to private investors,’ according to the proposal.

The Coyotes estimate the entertainment district will generate US$13.1 billion of new spending on site, averaging US$435 million over 30 years. The site has been used as a landfill and would require remediation before construction could begin.

Tempe City Council’s decision will allow residents to vote on the project during a special election on 16th May 2023.

The Coyotes are currently playing at Mullett Arena, a 5,000-seat facility on Arizona State University’s (ASU) campus while they wait for the new arena.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also confirmed that the Coyotes would be held to a 30-year, no-relocation term. Additionally, he told the council that Arizona would stage an NHL Draft and NHL All-Star Game assuming the development is completed.

“We’re very enthused about the prospects for the Tempe entertainment district,” said Bettman. “Obviously, the Coyotes need a new arena, and [team owner] Alex Meruelo’s commitment to this franchise and to Arizona has been unwavering. We want to make clear the league support for the franchise.”

Coyotes president and chief executive Xavier Gutierrez added: “The Arizona Coyotes and the Meruelo family are deeply thankful to the Tempe City Council for their unanimous support and cannot wait to move forward on this transformational development.

“The Tempe Entertainment District will be a huge win for this community, and we have no doubt that Tempe voters will agree. Our project will turn a landfill into a landmark.”

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