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Former Suns owner wants to see ‘win-win for both sides’ with arena deal

PHOENIX — The former owner of the Phoenix Suns said he wants city lawmakers and team officials to come to an agreement regarding the renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena.

“I want to see a private-public partnership really take place,” businessman and Valley sports figure Jerry Colangelo told KTAR News 92.3 FM Wednesday.

“And I hope politics doesn’t get in the way, but it’s got to be a win-win for both sides.”

Colangelo, who owned the Suns from 1987 to 2004 but has been with the team since 1968, said he has “a real something in my heart for Suns.

“I gave birth to the Suns so you know I care about them, I want them to succeed,” he said.

The Phoenix City Council is currently holding public meetings to allow residents to voice their opinion on a $230 million Suns arena renovation deal. The last public meeting is Thursday.

The council in December unanimously agreed to postpone a vote that would revamp the nearly 30-year-old arena between 2019 and 2021.

The deal, which was met with a lot of criticism from residents, would have the city’s Sports Facilities Fund, which is made up of tourism tax money, contribute $150 million.

The Suns would pick up $80 million and be responsible for any costs passing the $230 million mark.

A November poll from Data Orbital showed nearly 66 percent Phoenix voters likely to cast a ballot in next year’s special election were not in favor of the deal.

But a recent Greater Phoenix Chamber poll found that almost half of likely voters supported the deal after they were “educated on the facts of the agreement.”

The current operating agreement between the city and the Suns could end as soon as 2022, but the new agreement would extend the contract through 2037, with a five-year option.

The arena is the oldest in the NBA that is not currently undergoing renovations.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report. 

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