Developers are zeroing in on an area south of Scottsdale Pavilions as a location for a new arena, which could be used to lure the Phoenix Suns.
There has been a flurry of activity across Arizona’s arena scene. The Suns have made it known that they would like to improve upon their situation at Talking Stick Resort Arena, the downtown Phoenix venue that opened in 1992. The Arizona Coyotes, meanwhile, are likely to move into a new arena in the near future as their lease at Glendale’s Gila River Arena winds down.
In this particular proposal, portions of Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian land would be used to develop a 20,000-seat arena with 65 acres of adjacent development. Using this location would solve some funding problems that are present in other sites, and the area has already shown it can handle spring training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
The planning process has allowed for the possibility that the Suns and/or Coyotes could utilize the arena, but the Coyotes have apparently set their sights elsewhere. More from Arizona Sports:
Multiple sources said the developer group working with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community had a meeting scheduled with the Coyotes the day after the team’s Faceoff Luncheon and the day before the season opener on Oct. 15 to discuss the possibility of the Coyotes playing there, but the Coyotes cancelled the meeting at the last minute for unspecified reasons. No make-up date has been scheduled.
When reached Wednesday evening, Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc had this to say: “Throughout this process we have had a number of groups solicit our involvement. This particular group and site are not one with which the Coyotes are working.”
The Coyotes’ arena lease agreement at Gila River Arena in Glendale expires after this season. Although the team could extend that agreement, the ownership group has made it clear it would like to relocate to the East Valley or downtown. It’s no secret the team has been in discussions with Arizona State University about a potential partnership that could see an arena built on or near the Tempe campus. ASU launched a Division I hockey program last season and needs a legitimate arena to call home — or at least the promise of one — before it can secure conference affiliation and land top-end recruits.
That would leave the Suns as the likely tenant in this equation. The team’s lease in Phoenix runs for another 15 years, but it could leverage upgrades or a new venue sooner if a third-party mediator deems Talking Stick Resort Arena “functionally obsolete.”