Another day, another facilities challenge facing the Arizona Coyotes. PHNX’s Craig Morgan has heard from multiple sources that the Coyotes’ current arena construction proposal in the city of Tempe does not currently have the votes from city council needed for approval. The next Tempe city council meeting is set for this Thursday, though no date for an official vote on the arena proposal has been set, providing some hope that the deal is not yet dead.
Morgan writes that as of now there are three city councilmen firmly voting yes versus two firmly voting no, but that the two undecided votes are now leaning no as well. This change in opinion allegedly stems from the Coyotes’ recent failure to make payments to their current home in the city of Glendale, combined with a lack of information on the financing of the Coyotes’ $1.7 billion construction proposal. One source claimed that the club’s public image has been damaged to the point that even one more “negative news story” would surely kill the proposal.
This kind of opposition was not expected for the Coyotes’ Tempe plans. The team was the only group to submit a bid to develop this particular parcel of land in Tempe and had a vision not only for an arena but also an accompanying entertainment district. With no competing proposal, a plan that would drive traffic and revenue to Tempe and create jobs, as well as earn the city good will for keeping the ’Yotes in Arizona, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the plan would pass. However, it seems the diminished trust in owner Alex Meruelo and his group could surprisingly crush those hopes.
If there is one factor that the ultimate decision could hinge on, it is the Coyotes’ relationship with the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community. Should the Tempe proposal fail, many feel that the team will next look to the nearby native group as an option to build an arena. As Morgan puts it, this border location would see Tempe experience all of the vehicle traffic and associated negative issues while seeing none of the profit. If it seems as though a Salt River Pima plan is locked in as the Coyotes’ Plan B, Tempe may have to rethink voting against their Plan A.