Coyotes set sights on Mesa to build mixed-use


Arizona Coyotes to buy land for new arena Image: Mullett Arena, Kyvuh, CC0

The National Hockey League (NHL) team Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has executed a letter of intent to purchase a parcel of land in Northwest Mesa (Arizona, US) to potentially build a new sports arena and entertainment district for the franchise.

‘ESPN’ stated that the team sent out a statement recently which read, “The Coyotes remain committed to building the first privately- funded sports facility in Arizona history and ensuring the Valley as the club’s permanent home.”

The terms were not disclosed.

The Arizona Coyotes are a professional ice hockey team based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Coyotes compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference and play at the Mullett Arena in Tempe, Arizona (US).

The Mullett Arena is an indoor multipurpose arena at the Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona (US). The 5,000-seat arena is the home of the men’s ice hockey, women’s ice hockey, women’s gymnastics, and men’s wrestling teams. It serves as the home ground of the Arizona Coyotes.

The Arizona State University (ASU) is a public research university in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Founded in 1885 by the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature, the ASU is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the United States.

‘ESPN’ further stated that in addition to the Northwest Mesa site, the Coyotes are “looking at multiple sites so we can expect other letters of intent”, a source revealed.

The Coyotes called Glendale home from 2003 until 2022, when the City Council decided not to renew their arena lease. The team is entering its second season at the Mullett Arena, a 5,000-seat facility on the Arizona State campus in Tempe.

Owned by the City of Glendale and managed by the leading venue management company ASM Global, the Desert Diamond Arena was home to the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Arizona Coyotes (from 2003 until 2022) and currently hosts concerts and other entertainment acts throughout the year.

The 20,000-capacity Desert Diamond Arena is an indoor multipurpose entertainment arena located in Glendale, Arizona. The venue anchors the 223-acre, $1 billion Westgate Entertainment District.

The move to ASU was a temporary fix while Meruelo sought to build a $2.1 billion entertainment district in Tempe on a landfill owned by the City. But that plan was rejected by the voters on a special election ballot in May, in a result that shocked the Coyotes and made the NHL “terribly disappointed”, according to the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

New York City (US)-based the National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America comprising 32 teams – 25 in the United States and 7 in Canada.

Speculation grew that the team could relocate to Cities such as Houston or Salt Lake City. But the Coyotes steadfastly continued to search for new arena sites in the East Valley. In June, the Coyotes head honcho Xavier Gutierrez said the team had “a half dozen” potential locations on their radar, all of which would not require a public vote for the construction of an arena. I think referendums have proven to be very difficult, not just for us. You look at the backlash that certain other sports teams are having, it’s very clear that there is a narrative that this isn’t what really the public wants to approve via a vote. And so we’re looking at other options.”

The site Meruelo intends to purchase is an empty parcel of land in Northwest Mesa. That would keep the team near its desired markets of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale.

The team statement further read, “We appreciate the tremendous support that we have received from many communities, the elected officials and the community leaders who have expressed their desire to see the Coyotes remain in the Valley permanently. We would also like to thank the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly for their steadfast support of the club’s efforts to find a permanent arena solution, and for their recognition that Arizona is a tremendous hockey market.”

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