Scottsdale mayor clarifies biggest problem with Coyotes arena plans

Apr 9, 2024, 4:06 PM

Arizona Coyotes Phoenix arena plan rendering...

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

(Courtesy Arizona Coyotes)

The city of Scottsdale shared a letter written by its mayor clarifying why he criticized the Arizona Coyotes’ proposed arena in neighboring Phoenix.

Mayor David Ortega on Monday called the Coyotes’ arena plan released last week “unfeasible, and unwelcome.” In a letter distributed to news organizations on Tuesday, Ortega wrote to a constituent that his biggest problem with the NHL franchise’s plan was its lack of consultation with Scottsdale. The potential arena site for the Coyotes, which still must be acquired in a June 27 auction, sits west across Scottsdale Road and north of the Loop 101.

“I was never given the courtesy of a planning meeting to find a win-win solution,” Ortega said in his letter Tuesday. “However, I did meet with the Arizona State Land Department and they agree with my analysis.”

Ortega said the Coyotes’ initial plans released Thursday show the major entrances coming on the east side of the property off Scottsdale Road. He requested that a Loop 101 exit at 64th Street in Phoenix should instead be the main entry point.

“The Coyotes’ conceptual proposal shows the sole access at Scottsdale Road at 101 Loop and parking garages off Scottsdale Road. Thus, traffic would enter city of Scottsdale jurisdiction and have to cross over to turn west into the project,” Ortega wrote on Tuesday. “The proposed configuration compounds traffic at the Scottsdale/101 ramp and forces cross-over of Scottsdale Road. With garages on Scottsdale Road, fans or event patrons could depart after an event without even circulating thru the commercial spaces, which are west of the arena.

“I am pushing for the 64th Street/Loop 101 solution for 100% access in Phoenix. With parking garages on the west end of the property, fans and patrons would walk past commercial spaces to the arena, and after the game or event, they would circle back past other commercial spaces to return to their cars and depart at the 64th Street/101 ramp. Essentially the mega project would anchor a vacant ramp and spur economic activity there.”

The Arizona State Land Department set a June 27 auction date for the sale of the land and with it submitted an infrastructure letter from the city of Phoenix, including traffic amendments and utility upgrades that any developers would have to pay for. Those included recommendations to make improvements for traffic and potential resolutions to bring water and sewage from the west side of the property, from Phoenix.

The closest water mains are more than a mile away in Phoenix, while the Scottsdale mayor said he has no water assets available to pull from just across Scottsdale Road.

But Ortega’s letter released Tuesday indicated he sees common ground if a developer would focus on creating traffic flow well into Phoenix and not on the Scottsdale-Phoenix border.

“The (Arizona State Land Department) bid documents will require the successful bidder to fully develop the 64th Street /101 access. Essentially, there is an OPEN NET! at 64th/ 101, so the Coyotes can score easily,” he wrote.

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