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Ortega: I am in opposition to the proposed Arizona Coyotes arena location

photo of Arizona Coyotes opposition
Mayor David D. Ortega
David Ortega | Point of View

Last week, the Arizona Coyotes developer team, rolled out the same fantasy renderings used in the Tempe mega arena and mixed-use site proposal, which was resoundingly defeated at the ballot box.

The proposed Phoenix version — bordering Scottsdale — was presented without mention of market demand for a new entertainment venue disguised as a hockey arena, or congested highway access, or questionable arena zoning entitlement. And the glitzy proposal was portrayed as the last gasp to keep hockey in Arizona.

The prospect of a rookie developer attempting to buy Arizona State Trust Land with absolutely no infrastructure on the Phoenix side of Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road intersection at the doorstep of Scottsdale is not feasible, or welcome.

Why? The dream Coyote retail components sit too close to the retail lions of Scottsdale. The Greater Scottsdale Airpark area commercial giants have infrastructure and access in Scottsdale.

The bare Arizona State Trust Land at the edge of Phoenix has no frontage roads and water and sewer lie miles away to the west. And as a condition of sale, the 100 acres of property must develop entirely the 64th Street off ramp for access.

As a Scottsdale councilman in 2000 and now as mayor, I have seen the inside dealings when the Coyotes suddenly left Scottsdale in 2002, and recently as they vacated their former home ice in Glendale in 2022.

The team is struggling at Arizona State University Mullet Arena, at less than 90% capacity. And coincidentally, there is a new measure at the 2024 Arizona Legislature which would permit surcharges, an on-site sales tax to boost viability for an arena such as the Coyotes organization now proposes.

In March, Arizona State Land Department officials met in my office, and I pointed out that all Scottsdale Road improvements from the 101 north are entirely in our city. There is zero infrastructure west of Scottsdale Road. I demanded that infrastructure for the proposed site, including water and sewer, be pulled from Phoenix assets along 56th Street to the west.

Scottsdale Water assets are absolutely not available.

Editor’s Note: David Ortega is mayor of the city of Scottsdale.

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