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Job #1 for Gutierrez: New Coyotes arena

Xavier Gutierrez

Newly installed team president Xavier A. Gutierrez says his most important task is planning and completing a new Coyotes arena, as the NHL team once again pushes a move from Glendale’s Gila River Arena.

That the team is opening planning on a move from Gila River Arena is nothing new. And looking at a move to the East Valley isn’t a new thing, either. But now that Gutierrez is now on the job, it sounds like there’s a little more urgency in his desire to complete a new Coyotes arena plan. The Coyotes are committed to playing at Gila River Arena through the 2020-2021 NHL season on a year-to-year lease, but things are wide open after that.

And Gutierrez, whose experience and expertise is on the business side of the ledger, says a big part of that new-arena planning will involve outreach to the greater Phoenix business community. That means locating a new arena on the eastern side of the Valley. From ESPN:

“I know there have been a lot of conversations before I’ve gotten here,” Gutierrez told ESPN. “I’m going to reengage in all of the conversations that have been had, and start to go down the road of what makes sense. When I took the job, [owner] Alex Meruelo told me finding a solution for where we should be located was priority one through five. I thought it was one through five, and he quickly corrected me and said, ‘No, it’s priority one through 10 for you.'”…

Gutierrez said any discussions around the new arena circle around the idea: what makes the most sense for long-term prosperity for the franchise. Gutierrez, who attended Harvard and Stanford Law School, has an investment background, and has also started a real estate private equity firm.

“The East Valley [in the Phoenix metropolitan area] is certainly where you see a lot of the corporate growth,” Gutierrez said. “What you’re seeing now, here in the East Valley, is the pop-up of the capital coming to what is clearly a growth-technology center. A perfect example of that is Silicon Valley Bank, for the first time ever, having a branch here.”

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