Phoenix mayor ‘does not support using taxpayer funds’ for Coyotes, any other sports arena

May 16, 2024, 4:14 PM | Updated: 4:18 pm

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

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

(Courtesy Arizona Coyotes)

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego does not support using taxpayer funds for an Arizona Coyotes arena or any other sports arena in the city, a spokesperson said in a statment to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

It’s the first statement the city has released in regards to the Coyotes and their push to acquire land for a new arena in northeast Phoenix.

“Mayor Gallego had a productive meeting with (owner) Alex Meruelo and his family a few weeks ago, and they spoke about Mr. Meruelo’s plans to participate in the state land auction and, if successful, develop the north Phoenix site,” Gallego spokesperson Arielle Devorah said.

“The mayor believes professional hockey can thrive in the desert, but also made clear that she does not support using taxpayer funds, including property tax abatement, for sports arenas.”

The statement revolves around Meruelo’s plan to bid on and win an auction on June 27 for land in northeast Phoenix where he hopes to build a hockey arena suitable to host an NHL team after the Coyotes were relocated to Utah at the conclusion of the season.

The tract of land in Phoenix is located on the northwest corner of the Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road near Desert Ridge Marketplace.

The Coyotes said that the development would include a 17,000-seat arena and 150,000-square-foot practice facility.

It would also feature a concert venue for a live music theater for 3,000 attendees, 400,000 square feet of retail and a multi-purpose watch party plaza equipped with a supersized screen for viewing events. The district would be covered by a 170,000-square-foot canopy spanning the arena to the theater.

As part of the agreement of the sale of the team, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has given the Coyotes five years to secure land and an arena.

Meruelo agreed to sell the team after he secured a contractual right to reactivate the franchise within those five years of the date of the agreement and trigger an expansion draft if an arena gets built. This would then require him to pay back the $1 billion he received from the sale to Ryan Smith.

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