Here’s what’s next for the proposed Coyotes Arena in Tempe

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Tempe City Council will consider June 2 whether to move into a formal negotiation phase a proposal to build a professional hockey arena for the Phoenix Coyotes, hotels, offices, retail and residential buildings on city land. This proposal was submitted by Meruelo Group and the Arizona Coyotes through their subsidiary Bluebird Development, LLC.

A yes decision means the city and developer can negotiate. This is not an approval of the project itself. This decision would trigger a months-long process that will include community input and public gatherings.


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A no decision means that the council has officially rejected the developer’s proposal. The Council could then decide to launch a new call for proposals at this location.

The city follows the typical process

Months before the council can decide whether to officially select the proposing organization to build an entertainment district at Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway, council members must first decide whether the city should formally negotiate with the proposer.

Tempe issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Professional Sports Entertainment District on July 22, 2021. A proposal from Bluebird LLC was received on September 2, 2021. City officials have since analyzed the proposal with the support of sports, legal and financial advisors as part of its intensive due diligence process.

The city said in an April statement that the council had directed city officials to clarify the project proposal on a number of matters. After following the council’s direction, the city has reached a point where it is appropriate to seek the council’s permission to negotiate, if that is the council’s direction. City manager Andrew Ching said the process, which will take place on June 2, is standard for all development proposals on city land.

“Final decisions on this developer’s ideas will not be made on June 2nd. This is about whether or not the Council wants to talk more about the group’s ideas,” Ching said. “We wanted to give community members ample notice of this meeting so they can learn more and plan to contribute if they choose.”

An example of a similar process was the city’s bid for the Hayden Flour Mill & Silos. On February 10, the council voted to negotiate with the proposer of a redevelopment project at the site. Negotiations are ongoing and could result in a draft agreement for future consideration by the Council. Selecting a developer to negotiate with is not the same as selecting a developer to do business with.

What if the Council wants to start negotiations?

If city council members vote to continue negotiations on June 2, it means they’ve officially accepted the developer’s original submission and want to hear more. This does not mean that the project is progressing. There was still a long way to go before a decision was made. Negotiations could take several months.

During negotiations, the parties would attempt to formulate a Development and Disposition Agreement (DDA), which is a highly detailed, legal document detailing financial terms, timelines, details of what is to be built, and more. It would include the financial terms, schedules, details of what would be built and more. A draft DDA is to be submitted to the Council for a formal public vote in the future.

A robust public input process would take place prior to the Council’s decision.

Finally, even with an approved DDA, the Council would still have multiple public meetings to decide on aspects such as zoning permits and changes to the General Plan, if necessary.

What if the Council refuses to negotiate?

If the city council votes against negotiations on June 2, it has officially accepted the developer’s proposal. This would render this specific proposal obsolete. The Council could decide at a later date to issue a new RFP seeking development at this site, or it could choose to do nothing for now.

If you attend: what to expect June 2nd

The format for the June 2 meeting includes a presentation by the development team to the Council; Questions from City Council members to the developer; Contributions from community members and a vote on whether to start negotiations. During the session, the City Council was also able to temporarily adjourn to a closed session permitted under state law to seek legal advice.

Community members can participate physically or virtually.

personal presence

The meeting begins at 2:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 31 E. Fifth St. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Signs, banners and other similar visual items are not permitted in the city council chambers. Wearing face masks is strongly recommended for those attending in person. Anyone wishing to speak to the council must fill out a comment card available in the room.

Virtual Participation

Residents can participate virtually by filling out a comment card to request to speak virtually and registering through Webex. The City Chancellery accepts requests for virtual speaking up to two hours before the meeting. For more information, see tempe.gov/CouncilMeetingInfo.

Although emails to City Council members or staff are read and appreciated, they are not part of the official minutes of the council meeting.

Residents who do not have comments or questions can watch from home on Cox Channel 11 or at tempe.gov/tempe11. The city will announce the council’s decision shortly after the end of the meeting.

Releaseable information will continue to be maintained at tempe.gov/PriestRFP.

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