The Coyotes currently play at Glendale’s Gila River Arena, on the west side of the Valley. But the relationship between the city and the Coyotes ownership has faltered, and the Coyotes are openly on the hunt for a new arena site and perhaps partner.
So open, in fact, that team ownership has promised announcements on a location and then gone mum. That’s OK: It’s hard to put together a $300-$400-million deal with multiple partners, and making promises about a potential site announcement is always dicey. We do know that a new Arizona Coyotes arena is on the way; we just don’t know where — past a general location of the east side of the Valley.
Still, talk has centered around three potential locations and two potential partners. Though the Phoenix Suns are also debating their future arena needs, there is apparently no coordination between the NHL and NBA entities: the Coyotes ownership has shown little interest in returning to downtown Phoenix, and the Suns ownership has shown little interest in moving out of downtown.
What’s pitched as being the leading contender for the new Arizona Coyotes arena site: the Karsten Golf Course at Scottsdale/Rural Road and Rio Salado Parkway. The university has turned that corner of campus into an area slated for development: the baseball team moved out of Packard Stadium to make way for development, and this site is basically across Scottsdale/Rural Road from that development. Rio Salado Parkway has also turned into a development corridor with the addition of Tempe Marketplace, Sloan Park and more. It’s got good freeway and road access, and Arizona State University would a partner in the endeavor — with Sun Devils basketball potentially in the mix.
Another contender would be a site at the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale. Sports in the form of the stunning Salt River Fields spring-training complex has been a hit for the tribe, and more traffic to patronize the casinos, hotels and shopping center in the area would be welcome.