Glendale hires firm to lead post-Coyotes makeover of Gila River Arena

Jan 11, 2022, 1:00 PM

(Facebook Photo/Gila River Arena)...

(Facebook Photo/Gila River Arena)

(Facebook Photo/Gila River Arena)

PHOENIX — The city of Glendale announced Monday it has hired a global architectural and engineering firm to reshape the primary focus of Gila River Arena after the Arizona Coyotes vacate the venue.

The city-owned arena on the south end of the Westgate Entertainment District has been anchored by the Coyotes since opening in 2003.

In August, the city said it would not renew its agreement with the NHL team beyond the current season. The Coyotes are looking to build a new arena in Tempe but haven’t finalized any plans for a future home.

Gila River Arena has regularly hosted concerts and other entertainment over the years when the Coyotes weren’t playing. City Manager Kevin Phelps told KTAR News 92.3 FM that Glendale wants the firm it hired, HOK, to create a renovation plan to make those types of events the facility’s primary function.

“We think a variety would be good and we think our venue is really well suited for it,” he said.

In addition to concerts, Phelps said the arena could host events such as professional bull riding or other growing indoor sports, like lacrosse.

He compared Gila River Arena to The Forum in Inglewood, California, the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers and other pro teams.

Phelps said The Forum was renovated to be nothing but a concert venue and had become the top-grossing arena in the U.S. for concerts prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s not a bad model — obviously the Los Angeles market is a whole other animal — but the reality of it is we think that the growing Maricopa County here in the Valley, that it could support a major concert venue like this,” Phelps said.

The Coyotes’ departure will make it easier to schedule a variety of events year-round, Phelps said.

“Not being tied down to six months out of the year to having prime dates being locked in for a sports franchise will allow us to offer more routing opportunities for entertainment,” he said.

“We are very comfortable and very confident that we’ll see our concert numbers go up dramatically.”

Phelps said renovation will focus on improving the guest experience with an eye toward improving the revenue potential.

“At the end of the day … we want fans to walk out the front door feeling like they just exited a brand new facility,” he said.

Phelps believes the design of the core elements of the renovation will take the rest of this year, with the aim of starting construction in January 2023.

HOK and Gila River Arena management company ASM Global have worked together in the past with Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center, which opened in 2007.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Debra Dale contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Andrew Ormsby, 22, was arrested on Wednesday, police said. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office photo)...

Phoenix police arrest man accused of fatally shooting victim found in West Valley alley

Andrew Ormsby, 22, was arrested on Wednesday for his involvement in the shooting death of Roy Orozco, 24, Phoenix police said.

5 hours ago

Guests mill about at a previous Guild Indian Fair & Market on the grounds of the Heard Museum in Ph...

Heard Museum in Phoenix holding 66th annual Guild Indian Fair & Market this weekend

The Heard Museum in Phoenix is holding its signature event this weekend, the 66th annual Guild Indian Fair & Market.

6 hours ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

8 hours ago

FILE - A group of migrants walk along the border in a remote part of the Arizona desert as they joi...

Associated Press

Bill in Arizona would punish migrants who enter country illegally

Republicans in Arizona are broadcasting a tough border stance with legislation aimed at punishing migrants who enter the United States illegally.

9 hours ago

Mugshot of Brandie Gotch, who faces multiple charges for an alleged rampage against children at a P...

Kevin Stone

West Valley mom accused of driving through park, injuring a child, while her kids were in truck

A woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly driving her pickup truck through a West Valley park and hitting a child after she thought her kids were being bullied.

12 hours ago

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the stat...

Former Arizona education employees accused of stealing money from ESA program

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the state's school voucher program for personal use, authorities announced Thursday.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Glendale hires firm to lead post-Coyotes makeover of Gila River Arena