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Phoenix City Council to vote on $235M Suns arena proposal Wednesday

(Facebook Photo/Talking Stick Resort Arena)

PHOENIX – After a delay of more than a month to hold public information sessions, the Phoenix City Council will vote Wednesday on whether to approve a $235 million renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Polling has shown that once citizens were presented with the proposal’s details, they were more likely to be in favor of it.

“There’s certainly some people who aren’t for it, and that’s fine, we understand that, but I think that as people have become educated about the realities of the building and the value that it provides for the entire community, the public opinion has shifted, so we’re hopeful we get a good result at the City Council meeting,” Suns CEO Jason Rowley told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News on Friday.

After the City Council delayed a vote on the proposal at its Dec. 12 meeting, five public meetings were held at multiple locations in January.

Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

The proposal has generally been described as a $230 million deal, but city documents dating at least to November show the actual estimated total at $234.9 million.

Regardless of the final amount, the city’s committed portion has always been capped at $150 million, with the Phoenix Suns picking up the rest of the tab, including any overruns.

The city’s share would come from the Sports Facilities Fund, which is made up of tourism tax money.

On Thursday, the city posted a breakdown of the entire cost estimate.

The biggest chunk by far – nearly $100 million – would go to replacing or repairing the 27-year-old building’s aging mechanical, electrical, plumbing and communication systems.

The next highest line item is $26.37 million for upgrades to furniture, fixtures, food service and equipment.

Hear is the complete breakdown:

  • $99.58 million: Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and communication systems.
  • $26.37 million: Furniture, fixtures, food service and equipment.
  • $18.65 million: Technology and security.
  • $17.63 million: Exterior wall and building envelope.
  • $14.81 million: Seating bowl improvements.
  • $13.17 million: Event level improvements (including locker rooms, storage areas, performer lounges and courtside seats).
  • $11.67 million: Elevators and escalators.
  • $9.80 million: Main concourse improvements (including expanded space for concessions).
  • $7.21 million: Lower suite level A improvements.
  • $5.01 million: Roof and structural systems (including structural repairs to strengthen steel trusses and upgrades to support an improved rigging system).
  • $4.88 million: Upper concourse improvements.
  • $4.21 million: Lower suite level B improvements.
  • $1.91 million: Signage and graphics.

In addition to the arena renovation, the Suns are required under the proposal to finance a new off-site practice facility in Phoenix.

If approved, the agreement would extend the NBA team’s contract to play at the downtown arena through at least 2037.

Talking Stick Resort Arena opened in 1992 as America West Arena. In addition to Suns games and a variety of concerts and entertainment events, the 18,000-plus-seat venue is home to the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League.

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