ARIZONA COYOTES

Arizona Coyotes reportedly inquire about Mesa’s Fiesta Mall site in arena land search

May 18, 2023, 2:00 PM

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes...

Clayton Keller #9 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the Seattle Kraken during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena on April 06, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes have begun searching for a fallback option to build a new arena in the state after Tempe voters on Tuesday struck down plans to build an entertainment district there. Mesa’s old Fiesta Mall footprint is among the land the team has inquired about, CBS5’s and 3TV’s Dennis Welch reported Thursday.

The city of Mesa released the following statement after Welch reported that the Coyotes on Wednesday reached out about the land.

“For years Mesa has supported the redevelopment of the Fiesta District,” the city said. “Aside from being a key site for the District, Fiesta Mall is one of the most attractive pieces of urban real estate in the Valley today. It is massive, adjacent to three major highways and only 20 minutes from two major airports.

“We look forward to working with the property owner on proposals to bring diverse uses to the Fiesta Mall site and long-term sustainable and vibrant economic activity to the Fiesta District.”

As Welch adds, the Mesa option would likely require a public vote as the Tempe push did.

Moving to Mesa would keep the Coyotes on the right timeline to build a new arena because it would not require the year-or-so of land remediation needed in Tempe’s now-squashed project, which included landfill cleanup.

Fiesta Mall opened in 1979 and sits at the intersection of the US 60 and Alma School Road, a location that is easily accessible and in a relatively central, East Valley location.

The mall has been vacant in the past several years, with a Dillard’s Clearance Center being the last retail store to close down there in 2019.

The Coyotes on Wednesday confirmed they expect to play at Mullett Arena, which is operated by Arizona State University, in the 2023-24 season.

The NHL team in 2022-23 played its first season at the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, by far the NHL’s smallest arena. The Coyotes and ASU have a deal for the pro team to play two more years at the arena with an option for 2025-26.

The $2.1 billion project for a new arena in Tempe was projected to create a 16,000-seat arena, practice rink, 300,000 square feet of upscale retail, 1,600 apartments, two hotels and a theater at Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway. With that plan squashed, it’s opened the possibility the team could pursue relocation to another state.

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