In my five years in public office, the residents of Tempe did not demand a recreation area.
They demanded housing, aged care, childcare, and employment. They have called for fully funded schools and solutions to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
The proposed Arizona Coyotes Recreation District in Tempe addresses only one of those demands – employment – and very partially at that. The city council should abolish The whole project.
In the promotional materials, the hockey team talks about 1.7 billion dollars live “Manica” The Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive in seductive terms depict a luxury “unique destination” that will create jobs and generate net new taxes.
They promote taxes but want years of free flights
But look closely at their trading scheme and it turns out that it is not at all desirable to the current inhabitants of Tempe. It would essentially entail giving a bad economic actor – the current wolf owner – generous tax donations and thus depriving our city of additional funds for the much-needed services mentioned above.
The beleaguered NHL team promises to transform a 46-acre city-owned site into a “regional landmark” that will include a multi-purpose arena (the team’s future home), music venue, “high-end” retail and office spaces, more than 1,600 condominiums, and “boutique” hotels and “conferences”.
Ongoing dispute:Phoenix wants to stop the development of Coyotes in Tempe
Wolves make sure to repeat the estimated estimate 6,900 permanent jobs and $215 million In net new taxes (more than 30 years) will bring the project to Tempe.
What they don’t share publicly is that they are also asking for either a 30-year and 8-year state property rental tax (GPLET), to the tune of more than $649 million in tax cuts, or a 65- and 8-year GPLET that would total More than $1.1 billion in tax cuts.
Is this the behavior that Tempe wants to reward?
Then there’s Coyotes’ poor financial track record under current owner Alex Meruelo, who took over the franchise in July 2019.
Early on, his tenure was mired in “a turbulent transition in business operations, contentious financial disputes between the team and its contractors and vendors, a series of terminations and resignations of key employees and turmoil within the front office”, An in-depth presentation by The Athletic Put it in early 2021.
Just six months later, after months of stalled negotiations with the Coyotes over a joint lease agreement for the Gila River Arena, the city of Glendale reached the point of no return, opting to evict the team by June, a decision all city council backed members decided last summer, according to the Sports Bulletin.
As reported by The Athletic last August, negotiations between the city and Coyote . are underway It collapsed after months Stalled negotiations and “multiple notifications of outstanding and overdue balances” owed to the hockey team as part of their rental agreement.
The post also revealed that Gila River Arena notified Coyotes that the team owed $1,462,792 for the arena as of July 17, 2021, of which $300,000 was “more than four months past due.”
Is this really the kind of corporate behavior that Tempe wants to be rewarding for over the next 30 to 65 years?
I do not think so. And as the many residents who opposed the project have shown at many city council meetings, I am far from alone.
Like Glendale, our community deserves the best.
Representative Athena Salman, a Democrat, represents Tempe in Legislative District 26. Accessed at email@example.com.