the Yotes raring to go on planned Tempe arena


Arizona Coyotes planning new arena Image: NHL

The City of Tempe in Arizona (US) wants a professional sports team to develop 46 acres of city-owned land that is currently a solid waste compost yard into a stadium or arena and an entertainment district and the National Hockey League (NHL) team Arizona Coyotes are ready to give their right arm to take up the task.

The ‘abc15’ stated that the city of Tempe issued a request for proposals on July 22nd seeking “any professional sports franchise or entity partnered with the franchise” to develop the Northeast corner of Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway.

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

The 18,300-capacity Gila River Arena is a sports and entertainment arena at the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, Arizona (US) and serves as the home venue of the Arizona Coyotes. Located about 12.5 miles Northwest of downtown Phoenix, the arena was built East of Arizona Loop 101 and on the North side of West Maryland Avenue at a construction cost of $220 million.

A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that solicits proposal, often made through a bidding process, by an agency or company interested in procurement of a commodity, service, or valuable asset, to potential suppliers to submit business proposals.

The ‘abc15’ further stated that this deal isn’t just about a hockey rink. It would involve a huge mixed-use development. The Arizona Coyotes are said to be working on a “multibillion-dollar” proposal.

Two new NHL arenas are under construction now in Seattle and New York, both set to cost around $1 billion.

Coyotes’ gameplan

Politicians and citizens evince keen interest in arena deals in the United States because tax dollars are used to build them. But, that will not be the case with the Coyotes as the whole project will be privately-funded by team owner Alex Meruelo and his family.

Under the Coyotes’ proposal, which is due on August 19th, the City of Tempe and its taxpayers will not have any financial responsibility or liability for the arena and its surrounding district.

Meruelo is deep-pocketed and owns two large hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and Reno and Nevada and the plan would be to create an entertainment district surrounding the arena on the same level, something on the line of the Deer District in Milwaukee which hogged headlines recently for the Milwaukee Bucks victory against the Phoenix Suns.

Milwaukee was bursting at the seams as supporters went berserk as the Milwaukee Bucks won their first National Basketball Association (NBA) (US) title in five decades on the night of July 20th. The Bucks beat its peer team Phoenix Suns 105-98 to win the series in six games in the best of seven series. The edge-of-the-seat thrilling match was held at the Fiserv Forum in the United States.

Streets across Milwaukee were packed with supporters like sardines, with 65,000 Bucks fans, more than 10 percent of the City’s population, crowded together in the Deer District near the stadium to follow the game.

The Arizona Coyotes want to take out a leaf from the Deer District book.

The RFP issued by Tempe calls for a sports stadium or arena or a practice facility, 1,000 residential units and 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a large shaded plaza with “numerous amenities”. By making the area surrounding the district into an area which people would like to frequent 365 days in a year and not just on gamedays would generate a lot of revenue which would help Meruelo and the Coyotes to pay off the debt that they would take on to realize such an ambitious project.

Meruelo and his team would get some time to work on the whole development if their plan is selected by Tempe because a new arena on the site will not be operational until 2026 or 2027.

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