Phoenix lawmakers agree to delay vote on $230M Suns arena renovation
PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council agreed unanimously to delay Wednesday’s scheduled vote on a $230 million arena renovation deal that would keep the Phoenix Suns downtown.
The Council agreed to hold five community meetings about the proposal before voting on the deal at the Jan. 23 meeting.
In addition, all documents related to the deal will be posted on the city’s website.
Before voting yes for the delay, Mayor Thelda Williams addressed concerns that the city wasn’t being forthcoming with details about the project.
“It was not ever meant to be withheld from the public,” she said. “I’m a big believer in sharing this information.”
Williams and Councilwomen Debra Stark and Laura Pastor initially proposed the delay in a letter to City Manager Ed Zuercher earlier in the day.
The letter asked for two community meetings, but Councilman Michael Nowakowski requested the increase to five.
Today I asked my colleagues on the City Council to postpone the vote on the proposed agreement with the Phoenix Suns to allow for five community meetings to be held throughout all parts of our city. Its important to me that everyone has an opportunity to be informed on this topic
— Michael Nowakowski (@MRNowakowski) December 12, 2018
Suns President and CEO Jason Rowley told KTAR News 92.3 FM in a statement that team officials are looking forward to discussing the “many ways” that the arena benefits the Phoenix community.
“Our priority remains being in downtown Phoenix long-term and we’re excited about the opportunity that lies ahead,” he said.
Phoenix mayoral candidate Kate Gallego said in a statement that the city should “lead by example and provide a well-executed and timely forum for public feedback.”
The deal would revamp the nearly 30-year-old city-owned Talking Stick Resort Arena, the oldest arena in the NBA that is not currently undergoing renovations, between 2019 and 2021.
The city’s Sports Facilities Fund, made up of tourism tax money, would contribute $150 million.
The Suns would pick up $80 million and be responsible for any costs passing the $230 million mark.
Renovations would have included the replacement of mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructures.
The new agreement would extend the contract through 2037, with the option to add on five years.
The Suns would be expected to build and pay for an off-site practice facility, which would allow more space in the arena.
The deal estimates that the Suns would pay the city $60 million in fees and rent over the newly negotiated term.
The current operating agreement between the city and the Suns could end as soon as 2022.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.