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Phoenix Mercury to play at Madhouse during 2020 arena renovation

(Arizona State Fair / Instagram)

The Phoenix Mercury announced Wednesday that they will play at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum for home games during the 2020 season while Talking Stick Resort Arena undergoes a renovation.

The Madhouse on McDowell has been a multi-use event center since hosting home games for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns from 1968-92. It broke ground in 1964 and has hosted indoor soccer, ice hockey and basketball teams from various minor leagues.

It now will serve as a temporary home to the Mercury as Talking Stick Resort Arena undergoes an estimated $235 million renovation that could last into 2021.

While it held more than 14,000 people in its heyday, the Suns last gave their former home a test-run of sorts when they held a training camp scrimmage in front of fans at The Coliseum in October 2015.

The Phoenix City Council passed a deal to refurbish Talking Stick Resort Arena on Jan. 23 that will have the Suns cover $80 million of the total renovation costs, plus any overruns. That puts $150 million on the city. The city’s portion of the funding will come from its Sports Facilities Fund, which is made up of tourism taxes on hotels and rental cars.

Under the new deal, the Suns will remain downtown until at least 2037.

The biggest chunk of the funding in the approved deal, around $100 million, will go toward replacing or repairing the building’s aging mechanical, electrical, plumbing and communication systems.

The deal was first proposed for a city council meeting on Dec. 12 but was delayed until five community informational meetings took place. The city council added a few minor tweaks to the deal, including benefits provided by both the Suns and the city for issues including homelessness and public-safety costs.

The current deal for the 27-year-old arena allowed the Suns to leave as soon as 2022.

In addition to the Talking Stick Resort Arena renovations, the NBA and WNBA teams are also moving to a new practice facility separate from their downtown arena. On May 3, the Suns and Mercury announced the location of their new training facility will sit at Camelback Road and 44th Street in Phoenix. They will break ground on the facility by the end of summer this year.

The facility is privately-financed and will “feature the latest innovations in sports science and player development,” a statement said. It will also include offices, health and training amenities and two courts to be used by both the Suns and the Mercury.

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