We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Arena Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #8: The Arizona Coyotes pitch a new arena in Tempe.
Throughout 2016, it was evident that the Arizona Coyotes were seeking a new home to replace Gila River Arena in Glendale. It was also apparent that a potential partner in their endeavor was Arizona State University, which was expected in some corners to join forces with the Coyotes and land a new venue for its hockey program.
That seemed to come to a head in November, when the Coyotes revealed plans for a new arena in Tempe. While ASU did not participate in the announcement, the Coyotes revealed that the $400 million arena would be constructed at the university’s Karsten Golf Course—a site the team had previously been linked to–and include an adjacent venue for ASU hockey. If approved, the arena will open in time for the Coyotes’ 2019-2020 season.
Going into the new year, the proposal will be at the forefront of discussions for several groups. Arizona lawmakers will have to consider a key component of the proposal, which is whether to authorize a special taxing district for the arena and the commercial development that will surround it. If approved, that designation could help cover the renaming cost of the arena, as the Coyotes are suggesting that they will contribute $200 million for the venue.
Additionally, university officials have indicated that they will need to take a closer look at the plan. The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) recently said that it will have to sign off on the proposal in order for it to move forward. While the Coyotes announced that they were working with Catellus Development Corp, the master developer for ASU’s Athletic Facilities District, on the proposal, the arena would represent a change from the development district proposal. ABOR therefore says that it has the grounds to consider the arena in a separate vote.
Overall, the Coyotes took some steps toward a new arena in 2016 and have positioned themselves to potentially end their search in 2017. However, the plan will have to clear some hurdles in the new year, with the decision over the taxing district being key to the proposal’s fate.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List: