The Tempe City Council unanimously voted to approve a proposed arena and entertainment district that will serve as a permanent home for the Arizona Coyotes. The council approved the measure 7-0 at a meeting where NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was present. The proposal will be voted on by the residents of Tempe for final approval in a local referendum to be held on May 16.
The proposal from the Coyotes is for an arena on a 46-acre plot in Tempe that is currently a city dump. The proposal also includes plans for hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. The city council had previously awarded the Coyotes the exclusive rights to plan out the project on the land in June of this year.
“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,” said Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez. “Our project will turn a landfill into a landmark — and one that not only provides a wonderful home for the Coyotes but also serves as a vibrant town square for Tempe, generating thousands of sustainable jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for the city.”
As part of the project, the Coyotes agreed to execute a 30-year, non-relocation agreement to keep the team in Arizona. Bettman also stated that if the arena project moves forward that the NHL will bring either the All-Star Game or the NHL Draft to Tempe.
“We’re very enthused about the prospects for the Tempe Entertainment District,” said Bettman. “Obviously, the Coyotes need a new arena and Alex Meruelo’s commitment to this franchise and to Arizona has been unwavering and he has our support.”
In the meantime, the Coyotes will continue to play their home games at Mullett Arena on Arizona State University’s campus through at least 2025. The Coyotes moved to Arizona State’s rink after the city of Glendale ended their lease agreement with the franchise due to tax delinquencies and other unpaid bills at Gila River Arena.