Scottsdale mayor says potential Arizona Coyotes arena in Phoenix ‘not feasible, or welcome’

Apr 8, 2024, 2:21 PM | Updated: 2:21 pm

Rendering of the Arizona Coyotes' Phoenix arena plan...

Rendering of the Arizona Coyotes' Phoenix arena plan. (Courtesy Arizona Coyotes)

(Courtesy Arizona Coyotes)

Scottsdale mayor David Ortega in a news release expressed his opposition to the Arizona Coyotes’ potential new arena at a site that is expected to be sold at a state land auction.

In a public letter, Ortega said the renderings and plan released by the Coyotes last week were “presented without mention of market demand for a new entertainment venue disguised as a hockey arena, or congested highway access, or questionable arena zoning entitlement.

“The prospect of a rookie developer attempting to buy Arizona State Trust Land with absolutely no infrastructure on the Phoenix side of the 101/Scottsdale Road intersection at the doorstep of Scottsdale is not feasible, or welcome.”

It’s the latest pushback on the Coyotes’ plans after a failed public vote in May squashed the NHL franchise’s plans to build a new arena in Tempe. Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport actively opposed that project.

The Arizona State Land Department on Thursday listed the auction for the tract of land on the northwest corner of the Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road near Desert Ridge Marketplace. The auction date is set for June 27.

“My family and I are committed to winning this land auction and building a transformative entertainment district that will not require taxpayer funding for the first time in Arizona history,” said Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo last week when the team released renderings of the arena plans. “We will buy this land, build this development and finish a project that will incur the cost of more than $100 million in infrastructure improvements with no burden placed on taxpayers.”

While the land up for auction is in Phoenix, Scottsdale is just east, across Scottsdale Road from the property.

With the land auction flyer, the city of Phoenix attached a letter of recommendations about zoning, traffic, water and sewer infrastructure that would be required for a developer to add to meet the demands of a new entertainment district.

Phoenix projected the costs to be upward of $80 million on top of the cost of the land itself. The auction will begin at $68.5 million for the 110 acres of land.

In his letter, the Scottsdale mayor said he met with Arizona State Land Department officials in March and “demanded that infrastructure for the proposed site, including water and sewer, be pulled from Phoenix assets along 56th Street,” which is two miles west of Scottsdale Road.

“Scottsdale water assets are absolutely not available,” Ortega added.

Ortega said he agreed with the land department that a requirement about using only Phoenix resources would be “bundled” with any winning land auction. Ortega said he met with Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego to clarify the demand of future developers.

“I admire the hockey sport, Arizona Coyotes community involvement and phenomenal youth clubs at the Scottsdale Ice Den,” Ortega concluded in his letter. “But I along with the city of Scottsdale staff will continue to monitor any actions that occur, and negative repercussions for Scottsdale. As it stands today, the fantasy hockey project must move west, away from Scottsdale.”

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