Public referendum to be held on Coyotes’ plan for new Tempe arena

Members of the Arizona State University hockey team skate on the ice at the new Mullett Arena, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The university will be sharing the arena with the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

A public referendum will be held in May 2023 to help determine the fate of a proposed new arena for the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe.

Chierstin Susel of PHNX Sports reported Thursday that Tempe city council unanimously voted to send the $2 billion arena and entertainment district project to a special election in May.

At the city council meeting on Thursday, Susel reports Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez was pushing for a referendum.

Tempe city council is still slated to hold a vote on the project at the end of the month, but the referendum is seen as being the ultimate vote, Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports has reported.

The Coyotes are looking to build an arena after they were evicted from their previous home — Gila River Arena in Glendale — following last season. While waiting for their new home, the team is sharing a 5,000-seat rink with Arizona State University on a three-year contract with the possibility of a fourth at Mullett Arena.

The team is proposing to build an arena on a 46-acre site in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix, with hotels, retail stores, restaurants and apartments as part of the plan. In June, Tempe council awarded the Coyotes the exclusive right to negotiate a project on the piece of land — which is currently a city dump — and the progress of those negotiations will be on the table before council at the end of next month.

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