Bill to help fund $395M arena for Arizona Coyotes clears second legislative hurdle
PHOENIX — A bill that would help fund a $395 million arena for the Arizona Coyotes has cleared a second hurdle on its way to passing in the state Legislature.
Senate Bill 1149 passed the state Senate Rules Committee on Thursday. It heads to the floor for a full state Senate vote next week.
The bill, Sen. Bob Worsley’s second attempt to provide money for a new home for the team, passed a different, smaller state Senate committee last week.
Should it pass, the bill would create a public-private partnership to build the arena. It would be built with $170 million in team money, $55 million from the host city and an additional $170 million raised through bond sales.
The arena would be owned by the city where the arena is located.
Worsley (R-Mesa) said other Valley teams — such as the Phoenix Suns or Arizona Diamondbacks — would not likely be able to use SB 1149 to potentially fund a new home because his bill expires in 2019.
The bill was expected to be introduced. After a deal between the Coyotes and Arizona State University collapsed, Worsley told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Craig Morgan that he would craft new legislation that would allow the team to consider other locations.
“Everything was built in this legislation around the stadium district which is unique to ASU,” he said. “It’s now being reworked so it can work for any location. It would work the same way but we would create an entertainment district that would not be a sub-part of the stadium district.”
SB 1149 did not specify a location for the arena, but Worsley said he is aware of “four or five options” the Coyotes have, aside from remaining at Gila River Arena in Glendale, where the city confirmed this month that the Coyotes had extended their lease through the 2017-18 season.
Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said the team has already renewed talks with other potential sites that were put on the backburner when the team was solely focused on the ASU location. Two sources confirmed that LeBlanc met with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton two weeks ago.
“When we made the decision to go with the Tempe site in the fall, it was just that, a decision made by the Coyotes,” LeBlanc said. “Admittedly, we felt it was the best site and best path, but it isn’t the only path. We are re-engaging with other potential sites.”
Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan contributed to this report.
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