ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says new downtown arena high on priority list

Feb 16, 2016, 11:33 AM | Updated: 9:38 pm

(Twitter Photo/VisitPhoenix.com)...

(Twitter Photo/VisitPhoenix.com)

(Twitter Photo/VisitPhoenix.com)

LISTEN: Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix

PHOENIX — Mayor Greg Stanton said Tuesday that Phoenix officials were seriously considering a new downtown Phoenix arena for the Suns and Arizona Coyotes to share.

“We are in active discussions with various entities for a new arena in Phoenix,” Stanton told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug and Wolf.

Talking Stick Resort Arena at Second and Jefferson streets has been the main entertainment venue in Phoenix since opening in 1992.

Stanton added that eventually any plans for a new Phoenix arena would have to be approved by voters.

“I think it will be an intense debate here in Phoenix for the next few years,” he said.

If a new arena were built downtown, Stanton was excited by the thought of all the state’s major professional sports team playing close to each other.

The WNBA Phoenix Mercury and the Arena Football League Arizona Rattlers also play at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Arizona Diamondbacks play baseball down the street at Chase Field.

In June of 2015, in the midst of the Coyotes’ legal battle with Glendale, Stanton said the Suns were willing to share their home with the NHL team, if necessary.

At the time, Glendale officials voted to cancel a lease agreement with the hockey team. The dispute was resolved but the club has talked with at least three groups about a new home.

In a shared Phoenix arena, Stanton said the Coyotes would not be an afterthought.

“Talking Stick (then American West Arena) was built at the time … it wasn’t designed to facilitate hockey. We won’t make that mistake twice for an arena in downtown Phoenix.”

The Coyotes played downtown for over seven years before moving to the West Valley.

Stanton also pointed out that the new arena would host nonsporting events, just as Talking Stick does.

“I know when people think of (an arena), they assume it’s for the sports teams, but that’s not always the case. Talking Stick Resort is used 200 nights a year for concerts, festivals and other activities.

“You need a competitive building to host all of those events, including sports events.”

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Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says new downtown arena high on priority list