May 16, 2023 - Sports

Tempe's Election Day is here for the Coyotes arena deal

An artist's rendering of an arena surrounded by apartments and other large buildings.

An artist's rendering of the proposed Tempe Entertainment District. Courtesy of Tempe Wins/Manica Architecture

It's Election Day in Tempe, where voters will decide the fate of a proposed $2.1 billion development near Tempe Town Lake featuring a new Arizona Coyotes arena as its centerpiece.

  • The proposed development would include an arena, about 2,000 apartments and an entertainment district on a vacant 46-acre site that currently includes a landfill.
  • Early voting began last month on the three ballot measures that must pass for the proposal to become a reality.

State of play: Axios Phoenix is breaking down the biggest issues in the election:

🤑 Tax break

The Tempe Entertainment District would be privately funded, but the city would provide a 30-year property tax break through Government Property Lease Excise Tax.

  • By swapping property taxes with excise taxes, the team is expected to save about $500 million in city, county and state taxes, the Arizona Republic reported.
  • The city would also create a special district called a Community Facilities District, allowing it to repay about $208 million in bonds taken out for land remediation and infrastructure with tax revenue generated by the district.
  • Dueling economic studies make different predictions, with one claiming the city will get $167 million in tax revenue over the course of the deal and another saying Tempe will see a net loss of $7 million.

🛫 Airport

The district would be under the flight path for aircraft flying in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

  • The airport opposes the plan, arguing it violates a 1994 agreement between Phoenix and Tempe over how close housing can be, and it worries noise levels could generate opposition to Sky Harbor.
  • The team and the city counter the apartments would be soundproofed to block excessive noise.

🏗 The land

The site at Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway represents the "last bulk" of city-owned land available for development.

🗳 Voting

The deadline for mailing early ballots, which will likely be the majority of the votes cast, has passed, but you can still vote in person or drop off your early ballot at the Tempe History Museum, 809 E. Southern Ave.


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