Suns say priority is staying ‘long-term’ as arena vote is pushed back
The Suns reaffirmed their commitment to downtown Phoenix on Wednesday as a vote on the renovation for Talking Stick Resort Arena was unanimously delayed.
“We have learned that a request has been made to continue the agenda item on the arena renovation until a council meeting on Jan. 23,” said Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley in a statement. “We very much look forward to publicly discussing the many ways in which Talking Stick Resort Arena benefits Downtown Phoenix and our community at large, and answering any questions the Council and their constituents may have about the arena and the proposed renovation.
“Our priority remains being in Downtown Phoenix long-term, and we’re excited about the opportunity that lies ahead.”
The Phoenix City Council agreed to hold five public meetings about the proposal before voting on the deal at the Jan. 23 meeting.
Two Phoenix councilmembers requested Wednesday to delay the vote on a $230 million renovation project for Talking Stick Resort Arena, the home of the Suns.
The team and the city have been looking for a resolution to keep the NBA team in downtown, but one source of AZCentral.com’s Laurie Roberts said that Suns owner Robert Sarver has told “city officials that he may take the team to Seattle or Las Vegas.”
“There has been no threat,” Rowley told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station when asked about the rumor. “This has not been characterized as an adversarial relationship or a dispute or a conflict. The reality is, we’ve been working hand-in-hand with the City of Phoenix to come up with a resolution for the building that can work for everybody long term. It has not been a conflict or dispute.”
In a letter, Phoenix interim Mayor Thelda Williams and councilwomen Debra Stark and Laura Pastor asked City Manager Ed Zuercher to delay the vote until a city council meeting on Jan. 23.
The deal needed four “no” votes to be defeated and three city councilmembers had suggested they would vote no.
If passed, the renovation project would revamp the nearly 30-year-old city-owned Talking Stick Resort Arena, the oldest arena in the NBA that is not currently undergoing renovations, between 2019 and 2021.
The city’s Sports Facilities Fund, made up of tourism tax money, would contribute $150 million.
The Suns would pick up $80 million and be responsible for any costs passing the $230 million mark. The plan also included a potential new practice facility for the Suns that would be paid for by the team.