Tempe City Council Gives Green Light to Proposed $2.1B Coyotes Arena

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The Tempe City Council on Tuesday approved the Arizona Coyotes' proposed arena and entertainment district, lending the project city support ahead of a May 16 voter referendum on the matter. 

The Coyotes aim to build a 16,000-seat arena and entertainment district on city-owned land. The total project is estimated at $2.1 billion, with at least $1.9 billion privately funding. The project will also include two hotels, a 3,500-seat theater and up to 1,995 residential units. 

Called "Landfill to Landmark," the project will require 1.5 million tons of trash be removed from the site at an estimated cost of $75 million. 

"The Tempe Entertainment District will be a huge win for this community, and we have no doubt that Tempe voters will agree," Coyotes CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said, according to ESPN. "Our project not only provides a wonderful home for the Coyotes but also serves as a vibrant town square for Tempe, generating thousands of sustainable jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for the city. We are grateful and excited."

The district is also expected to include a gambling venue, as Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo owns the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada, and the Sahara Las Vegas. 

"We're committed to making a difference and helping the city. I have given so much and compromised so much, because it's the right thing to do," Meruelo, in making rare public comments, said. "I would like nothing more than to stay here for 30 or 40 years."

When the council voted to move forward with the proposal back in June, two members voted in opposition. One was councilmember Doreen Garlid, who now says she feel better about the deal. 

"While I've still got some reservations about this being the best fit for our last large chunk of city-owned land, it makes sense for us to give the residents of Tempe the opportunity to weigh in with their vote," Garlid said.

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