America West Arena/Jobing.com Arena Articles

ELLMAN, SCOTTSDALE RESUME TALKS
November 2, 2000
Copyright 2000 MediaVentures

Developer Steve Ellman and Scottsdale officials have resumed talks on an arena and shopping district development. Voters approved the issue last year, but Ellman began talking with other communities about the arena after disputes with Scottsdale officials. City officials said the latest meeting, the first in three months, was productive.

The city had sought to review the Ellman Cos. finances statements to make sure the company had the money to undertake the project. Ellman said the company's books were private.

ELLMAN CONSIDERS TEMPE AS HOME FOR COYOTES' ARENA
October 19, 2000
Copyright 2000 MediaVentures

Phoenix developer Steve Ellman is considering Tempe as an alternative home for a new arena for the Coyotes in a building that could also be home to the University of Arizona's indoor sports. The land under consideration is along the city's lakefront and is mostly owned by the University.

Ellman has been working with Scottsdale officials on a new arena and shopping district as part of a plan approved by voters last fall. If he moves the venue, he could lose the taxpayer-approved funding.

The design shown to Tempe officials includes not only the arena, but also retail, restaurant and other entertainment venues. No financing plans have been worked out.

The voter-approved funding comes from a stadium district that redirects sales tax money to help fund the arena. If the district's lines were redrawn to include Tempe, it may still be possible to tap into the public money. It could also mean that Tempe must match the state sales taxes diverted for the project.

Ellman is also reportedly talking with the Pima-Maricopa Indian Community about putting the arena on reservation land. The tribe operates a casino nearby.

The developer's fight with Scottsdale comes over disclosure of company financial information. The city wants to review the company's books to make sure it has the depth necessary to complete the project, but Ellman says the company's books are private. Ellman has also been working to buy the Coyotes from Richard Burke, but has not yet completed his financing. He hopes to close that deal by the end of the year.

In other news, a Scottsdale citizens is beginning a recall campaign against city council member George Zraket, a critic of the arena plan. Mike Bentler, who owns an Avis car rental agency in Mesa, says voters have approved the arena issue twice and local politicians should be working to make the project work. He will need 7,600 signatures to force a recall election. Bentler said there could be other recall efforts against other council members.

COYOTES CONSIDERING NEW ARENA SITE
October 12, 2000
Copyright 2000 MediaVentures

Frustrated at repeated city requests for information about his company's finances, Steve Ellman has begun considering sites outside Scottsdale for a new arena for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Scottsdale has asked the Ellman Cos. for information about its finances because the company has been slow to move ahead with redevelopment of a shopping district and with its purchase of the Coyotes. Voters approved funding for the $624 million project last year and the city will invest $100 million. Should the arena be moved outside Scottsdale, the city would not make its investment. Ellman had promised to invest more than $400 million in the project.

In a separate deal, Ellman sought to buy the Coyotes for $87 million from Richard Burke when Burke said he could not financially stand an additional year's delay in opening the arena. Difficulties in producing designs for the shopping and arena projects were causing the delays. Ellman hopes to close the deal with the Coyotes by the end of the year and has been joined in the effort by hockey star Wayne Gretzky. The arena is not expected to open until 2002.

After the news broke Ellman offered to sit down with the city and talk about the company's finances while several city council members suggested the city should put together an alternative plan should Ellman decide to move elsewhere.

PHOENIX ARENA DEVELOPER REFUSES TO OPEN COMPANY'S BOOKS
October 5, 2000
Copyright 2000 MediaVentures

The developer of a shopping center and arena development in Scottsdale has refused again to let the city review his financial status. The Ellman Cos., have said they will not turn over financial statements to the city so the city can determine if the company has the financial power to complete the project.

Voters approved diversion of sales tax money last fall for the shopping district renovation and construction of a new arena for the Phoenix Coyotes. Ellman is also trying to purchase the NHL team.

Because of delays in that purchase and in getting the shopping center project underway, the city has sought to verify the company's financial depth. Ellman said the information is private and he promised confidentiality to his investors. City officials are now deciding on their next move.

Meanwhile, the city's Development Review Board will begin its analysis of the plan for the 72-acre, $557 million project. The board must decide whether to grant variances for the arena's 75-foot tall height, more apartments than current zoning allows and if the design includes enough green space.

By Bob McManaman
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 1, 1999

There is no panic. Yet. No signs of an impending fire sale. So far. The payroll won't be slashed. For now.

But it could all change in a heartbeat for the Coyotes, who open their fourth NHL season in the Valley on Saturday with a game in St. Louis against the Blues.

Owner Richard Burke insists he won't buckle under pressure from losing up to $10 million a year on the franchise. Or playing in an arena where a quarter of the seats have obstructed sight lines. Or facing an escalating payroll next season when the contracts of the team's top two stars, Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick, will soar to $8.3 million and $5 million, respectively.

"Once we get the arena vote passed, everything will be fine," Burke said, referring to the team's Los Arcos project, which will go before the voters again on Nov. 2, this time to approve the financing package for the 20,000-seat facility.

A "yes" vote means Burke can line up and secure his investment partners to help shoulder the costs of the franchise. It means revenue streams, as dead as the Coyotes' power play last season, can come to life. It means Tkachuk and Roenick, and any of a half-dozen other key players won't have to be sacrificed in a salary slice.

More important, it means the NHL won't be leaving the Valley any time soon.

But a "no" vote? What happens then?

Welcome to Mystery, Arizona.

"All I know is last year we had 90 points, which is a lot. And every year you expect to get better," said left wing Keith Tkachuk, the Coyotes' captain. "The money situation is out of our control. We've got an average budget and obviously, we don't have the wealthiest team like Detroit or the New York Rangers.

"But if we fall on the vote, a lot will fall. Where would we stand? Where would ownership stand? Do we start having a fire sale? I don't know. But next year I'm going to make 8.3 (million dollars), and that's a tough salary to move. I could probably only be traded to a handful of teams. It definitely weighs on your mind. I love it here. I don't want to leave."

Without a suitable new arena, and the profits it will generate in time, Tkachuk and his teammates may have no choice but to accept their fate. Whatever that is to become.

Teppo Numminen, the best defenseman in club history who is entering the final year of his contract, could be cut loose to test the free-agent market. Rick Tocchet, the team's veteran war horse right wing, could be a logical choice to move at the March trading deadline. Ditto with left wing Greg Adams and perhaps right wing Dallas Drake, both of whom also become free agents at the end of the season.

If Los Arcos is lost, and a Plan B can't be erected in time, what's to stop the team from purging players right away?

"If that happens," Tkachuk said, "I'd be devastated."

So would Roenick, who is as unsure about the future as anyone.

"Hopefully, they can keep us all together," JR said. "Hopefully, they re-sign "Tocc' - which we're all hoping they will - and we can do something to keep Teppo. But I don't know. Keith's going to be making the big money next year, and my salary goes up next year, too. Hopefully, they keep both of us around. This building being passed has a lot to do with who stays and who goes."

General Manager Bobby Smith said the plan is to stay the course. He said he and Burke have no plans to dismantle the roster should the Coyotes lose the November election. But realistically, Smith knows it can't go on like this forever.

"Richard has been willing to underwrite this team's losses to maintain a very competitive team and one I'm very proud of," Smith said. "But I don't know if he'd be willing to do that indefinitely. I wouldn't have blamed him for having told me no on a few occasions when he's told me yes in the past.

"We'll be in a better situation once the arena goes through and Richard gets his partners. If not, we'll have some difficult decisions to make as all teams do. But really, we're in much better shape than some other teams out there."

Despite the fact the Coyotes' payroll hovers at around $30 million and technically, ranks among the bottom third in the league, the team "doesn't operate on a shoestring budget," Smith said.

"The fact of the matter is, there are a few teams at the top of payroll, there are a few at the bottom, and there are probably 16 or 17 in the middle that are, plus or minus, about 3 or 4 percent apart. We're one of those teams," Smith said. "We're probably about 19th in the league. But if we added a $1.2 million contract, we might be No. 11."

If they signed goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who wants $5 million a season, they might be even higher. But that's too much coin for the Coyotes to swallow, even though Burke and Smith strongly contend they're not nickel-and-diming things.

"We don't have million-dollar players in the minors. We're not buying out players. We just signed (defenseman) Todd Gill to a two-year, $3 million contract. We were under no obligation to do that. We sign our draft picks. We just gave (goalie) Patrick DesRochers a million-dollar signing bonus. We just did the same thing with (defenseman) Kirill Safronov.

"Look, some teams don't even have rookie camp. We went to Finland with a bunch of prospects, which was a pretty big chunk of change, and nobody bats an eye. But we did it for one reason, to make our team better four, five years from now."

Trading center Cliff Ronning a year ago was, however, a cost-cutting maneuver acknowledged by the club. But Smith said he doesn't foresee any similar moves being made. And that includes Tkachuk and Roenick.

"We've got $8.5 million tied into those two players this year," he said. "That's pushed us from being in the middle of the pack at about $26 million to 30ish. If the middle of the pack next year is $34 million, we're going to have to make a decision as to whether we can be in that group. But I can tell you now, the answer will be yes."

Will Smith still be singing the same tune after Nov. 2? Or, should the Coyotes and their fans brace themselves for wholesale changes?

Privately, some players already are convinced that this could be their final season together, that this might be the last run the core group of skaters gets a chance to make at the Stanley Cup.

"I don't want to believe that," defenseman Deron Quint said. "I think Richard Burke has done a great job of keeping us together. He wants a winner, and I think we have one here. . . . I don't see any reason why this team can't stay intact for four years and maybe win two or three Cups."

Nobody wants to win as badly as the Coyotes' top three dogs - Tkachuk, Roenick and Tocchet. It's all they talk about.

"We want to get there together," Roenick said. "I haven't been to the Finals for seven or eight years now. That's a long time. I don't want to go there with any other team. I'm on the team I want to be on.

"I have my heart and soul behind this team, regardless of what some people might think. I know there are different opinions of me out there because I'm controversial and an outspoken person. Maybe even some of my teammates aren't crazy about me because I'm flashy or too showboaty. But I know what I'm about. I know what I'm for.

"If coming back last year for Game 7 of the playoffs with a busted jaw isn't enough to show people how much I want my team to win, well, they can choose to think what they want."

There's enough to think about already.

Coyotes confident new home will help team improve

By Kent Somers
The Arizona Republic
May 19, 1999

Upon hearing that Scottsdale voters had approved the first step in his team's quest for a new arena, Phoenix Coyotes owner Richard Burke did not reach into his blue blazer for his checkbook and promise to buy a round for the house, or even a few high-priced free agents.

The Coyotes, Burke said, still are not flush with cash, and the arena is far from a done deal.

In contrast to the owner's restraint, however, the reaction of his troops was jubilant.

Coyotes center Jeremy Roenick was walking down the middle of Rush Street in downtown Chicago, talking on his cellular phone, when he got the news of the Los Arcos landslide.

"No way! You mean, it wasn't even close? That's awesome! That's totally awesome!," Roenick, one of the team's most visible stars, shouted.

Tuesday, 62.8 percent of voters approved the formation of a stadium district. Now, a financing plan must be developed, and Scottsdale voters will be asked this fall to decide the deal's fate.

A new arena wouldn't be open until the fall of 2001, at the earliest.

Until then, it will be business as usual for the Coyotes, who say they have lost about $15 million in three years at America West Arena.

"We'll be tight until we're in here, in the new building," Burke said, standing outside Radio Shack, one of the few stores in the mall still open. "We have a good front office and business-side people. We don't have room for error, but they've done a good job of allowing us to be competitive."

The Coyotes margin for error is thin, they say, because they play in an arena that has 4,200 obstructed view seats and where their revenue from areas such as signage, sponsorships and luxury suites is also limited.

A new arena would give the Coyotes 18,000 unobstructed view seats. They would not be forced to charge less for 4,200 seats, as they do now, and might be able to lower prices that they are charging for some of the better seats at America West Arena.

"I challenge anybody in any other sport to think about what their game would be like, say in baseball, if 25 percent of the fans couldn't see third base and home plate," Burke said.

There is little revenue sharing in the NHL, and a team's profitability hinges mainly on its arena and broadcasting revenues.

"We've maxed out our revenue opportunities at America West," said Shawn Hunter, president of the Coyotes.

That limits the team's payroll and its personnel options, Burke said. Only eight of the 27 NHL teams spent less on payroll last year than the Coyotes, who lost in the first round of the playoffs.

"You look at the hockey department, they don't have the ability to go out and make a $2 million mistake," Burke said. "Our idea of a mistake is $300,000. With some (teams), it's $3 million."

Tuesday's vote was encouraging to the players. Captain Keith Tkachuk visited a voting site Tuesday morning and hung around election headquarters at Los Arcos in the evening.

"America West is a great place to play but when you have 4,000 obstructed view seats, it puts a damper on (things)," he said.

A new arena means a team could take more chances in trying to build a winner, right wing Rick Tocchet said.

"And when you have options, you can be like a Detroit or a Dallas or a Philadelphia," Tocchet said. "Those types of teams can afford to do a bunch of things and if they make a mistake, say by bringing in the wrong free agent or something, it's not a big deal.

"But a team like us, before this vote, if we get somebody and it doesn't work, it's a huge mistake."

Tuesday's vote is also a positive move for Burke's quest to find a partner to buy part of the team. He had placed those plans on hold during the campaign leading up to the vote.

"I've said all along I'm not going to invite someone to a check-writing party," he said. 'This has to be a viable project. We have to be able to say, "this is what it will be.'"

A positive vote in the fall might allow the team to back load contracts: to pay players more in the later years of a deal when the Coyotes are in a new arena.

For example, goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who becomes a Group II restricted free agent on July 1, might want a five-year deal that averages at least $4 million a season. But the Coyotes may counter by offering him $2.5 million each of the first three years and than $6.25 million each of the final two.

General Manager Bobby Smith called Tuesday's referendum "a very, very important date for our franchise, and long-term, it's certainly going to change a great deal."

"I don't think it will change a lot in the short-term, because Richard is committed to this franchise," Smith said. "But obviously, it can change the way your team operates in a couple of months."

And in a couple of years, too. That's when Tkachuk, the Coyotes' best player, becomes a free agent again. He agreed to a restructured deal prior to the start of last season worth $16.7 million, including a whopping $8.3 million during the final year of the contract in 2000-2001.

The Coyotes undoubtably would be forced to trade him by then if their financial situation doesn't improve. Tkachuk probably wouldn't be the only casualty, either.

Staff writer Bob McManaman contributed to this report.

Cities prepare to join Los Arcos bandwagon

By Alexa Haussler
The Arizona Republic
May 20, 1999

The ballots hadn't even been officially tallied from a stunning stadium district victory in Scottsdale when Valley cities started lining up to jump on board.

Scottsdale neighbor Fountain Hills, in particular, didn't waste any time.

The Town Council there is scheduled to vote today whether to join a stadium district with Scottsdale and Avondale, the only city that was willing to sign on before Tuesday's vote.

Plus, town leaders in Guadalupe are set to meet with lawyers behind closed doors today to discuss joining the district.

The arena developer and the Phoenix Coyotes have offered Fountain Hills and Guadalupe each $1 million, the same amount they promised Avondale, as an incentive to join.

Scottsdale voters flocked to the polls Tuesday to approve a stadium district by a 2-1 ratio. Forming the district is the first step in rebuilding the aging Los Arcos Mall area as a hockey-entertainment complex anchored by an 18,000-seat Phoenix Coyotes arena.

State law requires at least two cities to form a stadium district and enable a stadium project developer to reap a state sales tax rebate.

Embroiled in a heated political debate, Scottsdale had trouble convincing skittish municipalities to join before this week.

Carefree voted in December to join, but backed out of the deal after voters threatened a referendum. Paradise Valley also has been approached about joining the district, however officials there said no decision has been made.

Fountain Hills apparently will be the first to gun for the $1 million signing bonus since the vote.

"I'm leaning toward yes and I think several members of the council are," Fountain Hills Mayor Sharon Morgan said. "There is no cost to us to be a good neighbor."

The Fountain Hills town attorney was drafting a stadium district resolution Wednesday. The council plans to vote at 6:30 p.m. today in the council chambers, 16836 E. Palisades Blvd., Fountain Hills.

Guadalupe's Town Council will get legal advice on joining the stadium district in an executive session today but has not yet scheduled a vote, Town Manager Luis Gonzales said. He said council members will learn about the stadium district law and what the town's role might be.

The pro-arena vote in Scottsdale "enhances our desire to continue discussions. . . . Yes, we are interested in it. I'm continuing to try to get as much information to the council as I can," he said.

Coyotes President Shawn Hunter said Tuesday's landslide "heightened the interest" of other cities to join the district. He said the team and developer will try to get at least one more city to join.

"It's a vote of confidence in the project, and No. 2, with the state law, it provides a comfort level. A project would need to win a vote in Scottsdale and one other city. It enhances the chances of the project coming to fruition."

Meanwhile, arena opponents in Scottsdale are digging in for Round Two and backers are starting to make specific plans for the project, including how the city will come up with $100 million in matching funds for the district.

Scottsdale and Avondale are expected to appoint a stadium district governing board in the next 10 days, which would then create a financing plan for the arena complex. Scottsdale voters likely will again go to the polls Nov. 2 to vote on the financing.

"Now the city has to "show us the money,' and that's really what the rub is here," said anti-arena attorney Alan Kaufman, who refused to call Tuesday's resounding vote a defeat.

"There's 37 percent of the electorate in this town that said no and those people are not going to become yes votes."

Pro-arena forces mounted a high-dollar, flashy campaign for four months leading up to the vote, outspending opponents by at least 19-1. They centered their campaign around a key theme: revitalizing a dying area at Scottsdale and McDowell roads without sales tax increase.

Voters apparently took notice, easily approving the formation of a stadium district to create a financing plan for the proposed $624 million sports-entertainment complex.

Unofficial results showed 63 percent of Scottsdale voters backed the ballot measure, while 37 percent opposed it. A near-record 31.6 percent of the city's voters cast ballots.

Arena backers and city officials say the easy part is over.

"We have a lot of work to do. This is a first step. I think the community obviously wants us to take a hard look at making this a reality," said Gary Roe, Scottsdale redevelopment director.

Among other things, the city and developer now need to cook up a redevelopment agreement and financing plan to put before voters in the fall.

Hunter said the pro-arena camp isn't going to bask too long in Tuesday's results.

"We were pleased but we can't take anything for granted," he said. "We've been given an opportunity and with that opportunity comes a lot of responsibility, and I think we'll be able to deliver and answer the questions that have been put to city and developer."

Republic writers Kent Somers and Betty Beard contributed to this article.

Coyotes trying not to burn bridges

By Kent Somers
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 30, 1998

In an abandoned Scottsdale department store, standing on worn carpet and sweating because the air conditioning was turned off, Phoenix Coyotes officials Tuesday spoke of their plans to move out of their rental home and into a new, cool place of their own.

Artists' renderings of the proposed $600 million redevelopment project at Los Arcos Mall rested on easels. With a still escalator and protruding wires from pillars providing the backdrop, it was a contrast in what the Coyotes hope the area will become by 2001 and what it is today.

Coyotes officials revealed few details about plans for a 20,000-seat arena at Los Arcos, at the southeast corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads.

An architect has yet to be chosen, so there were no drawings of the proposed arena. They declined to reveal how much they will contribute to the project, saying only that it will be substantial. And they wouldn't say what other methods would be used to fund the arena, only that the money probably wouldn't come from raising taxes or creating new ones.

And they haven't ruled out staying at America West Arena, where they have three years remaining on a lease, should plans for the new arena not be approved.

"We want to make sure all of our options are open," team President Shawn Hunter said at a news briefing inside the abandoned Broadway store. "This is just the focus. We have never discarded that (America West Arena) as an option."

Hunter and team owner Richard Burke said they do not want to burn bridges with their landlords, the Suns organization, nor the city of Phoenix. But the Coyotes' announcement this week punctuates their belief that they cannot survive financially under the current conditions at America West Arena.

The team is losing money, Burke said, because the arena has 4,300 obstructed-view seats that must be discounted, and arena management has interpreted the lease in ways that cost the Coyotes money.

Hunter estimated the team will have a $4 million shortfall this season in areas other than ticket revenue. That includes money from advertising, sponsorships and luxury boxes that Coyotes officials say they are unfairly restricted from earning.

Managers of the arena have said the Coyotes are being treated fairly.

Coyotes officials don't see the situation improving.

"It's no secret we're losing money now and that's not going to get any better where we are," Hunter said. "In the near term, Richard can continue to invest in our future but project out three, four, five years and it begins to be silly in terms of what you have to put in and what you get out of it."

The Coyotes, the city of Phoenix and America West Arena management had been discussing plans to renovate the arena to ease the obstructed view seating problem. The opportunity at Los Arcos presented itself, and the Coyotes had a choice to make.

"You have to go down one route or the other," Burke said. "This is here, and we don't have solutions on the other side yet."

The Coyotes could be changing more than their address with a move to Scottsdale. The team might consider a name change, said Hunter, who declined to be more specific. And a new arena might make it easier for Burke to attract a partner, which he has wanted since former partner Steven Gluckstern sold his share and bought the New York Islanders.

Burke said his main priority is to keep the team in Arizona. He has expressed reluctance in the past to enter the arena business, but given his disagreements with management at America West Arena, seeking a new home seemed the most viable solution.

The proposed arena is not a done deal. The Scottsdale City Council has to approve the project. If the plan falls apart, the Coyotes' only short-term option will be staying at America West Arena.

"We have not burned any bridges, nor will we," Hunter said. "But we're at a critical point in time where we have to make decisions that affect our livelihood in the long run. Five years from now, it would be unmanageable with America West in its current configuration and in our current relationship."

The plan now is to have the Coyotes manage the new arena, much as the Suns do at America West Arena and the Diamondbacks do at Bank One Ballpark.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP) -- August 13, 1998 -- The Phoenix Coyotes, unhappy with revenue and seating arrangements at America West Arena, are looking into obtaining an arena of their own, according to a published report.

The Tribune of Phoenix said Thursday it has learned the National Hockey League team hopes to have a privately financed $150 million arena ready in a Scottsdale redevelopment area by the 2001-2002 season. That's when the current lease in downtown Phoenix expires.

The Coyotes recently opened a headquarters and practice complex in northern Scottsdale. The site under consideration for an arena is in southern Scottsdale, near Loop 202, also known as the Red Mountain Freeway, where an aging shopping mall now is located.

Coyotes owner Richard Burke confirmed he has had discussions with mall developer Steve Ellman but characterized them as preliminary, The Tribune said.

"We have had conversations with a number of private venture partners -- of which the development at Los Arcos [Mall] is one -- to provide for our needs in the event that satisfactory solutions at America West in Phoenix are not forthcoming," Burke said in a prepared statement to The Tribune.

Burke would not say what other sites he is considering. "We would stress that the alternatives evaluated to date are all private in nature and not public. All of our conversations, with America West Arena and elsewhere, are intended to ensure that the needs of our fans and organization are met in Arizona, both in the near and long-term solution," his statement said.

Burke has been unhappy with the seating capacity of America West Arena, which seats 16,210 for hockey -- in contrast to 19,023 for the NBA's Phoenix Suns -- but has 4,283 seats with a restricted view of the ice.

The Coyotes are also unhappy with revenue from advertising signage, luxury suites and other areas currently controlled by the Suns, the original tenants of America West.

"We can't get by with the current situation," Burke said. "The city [of Phoenix] and the arena know it. But everybody has acknowledged the problem and is diligently trying to fix it."

Los Arcos:
The Next Generation

Wouldn't it be nice for area residents to trade empty buildings . . . . . . . for a vibrant New Los Arcos?

We're saving the mountains.
Now it's time to save Los Arcos.

Sears is leaving. Broadway did, too. Los Arcos is declining . . . fast. Something has to be done. But not just a temporary fix, not a "band aid."

Los Arcos needs something bold something affordable, something dynamic and something special. South Scottsdale needs to increase property values, energize area businesses and transform Los Arcos into a corner we can all be proud of, now and for years to come.

After all, it's the vibrant southern neighborhoods that made Scottsdale what it is today. Now it's time for South Scottsdale to get something back, something significant.

Here's a brief look at what will be included at the New Los Arcos:

Importantly, the New Los Arcos will be built without increasing city sales taxes.

Answers to Key Questions

1. Why add an arena for the Phoenix Coyotes and community events to plans?
An arena is the ultimate "anchor" tenant for Los Arcos. It will ensure that people will use and enjoy Los Arcos for years to come. It will bolster area businesses and create a lot of permanent jobs. Los Arcos deserves a long-term solution. The new arena will help in a big way.

2. What will the arena look like?
At approximately 180,000 square feet, an arena has the same building footprint of a Home Depot or Wal-Mart. And, by burying much of the arena underground, the arena's tallest point will only be ten feet higher than the existing Broadway builing. The Los Arcos arena won't look like America West Arena at all.

3. What benefits will there be for the neighborhood?
An old-style, 14-screen movie theater, home improvement center and health club. A public skating facility. Linkages to the Indian Bend Wash. A grocery store. Free parking. Brand new community spaces and attractive buffering and landscaping all along the project's perimeter. Adult bars and troublesome after-hours dance clubs go away.

4. How will Los Arcos revitalization be paid for?
The New Los Arcos will be paid for by the The Ellman Companies, Phoenix Coyotes and financial incentives generated by the projects' success. There will be no sales tax increase of any kind.

5. Where will people park?
In FREE parking throughout the 92-acre project. The number of parking spaces will be slightly more than Scottsdale Fashion Square.

6. What about traffic?
Right now Scottsdale & McDowell is one of the busiest intersections in Arizona, with about 100,000 cars per day. It's just that people aren't going to Los Arcos anymore. The Mall used to attract about 20,000 people per day. The new plan will return that kind of energy to Los Arcos and move traffic very efficiently - just like it used to be, but better.

7. When will all of this happen?
By starting construction during the first part of 1999, much of the New Los Arcos can be open by Fall, 2001 - some portions before that, like the neighborhood retail.

Reprinted from the Los Arcos Now Brochure
as provided by Patrick Lauder, thanks Patrick.

NHL offers All-Stars to un-built Los Arcos arena

By Tim Tyers
The Arizona Republic
December 9, 1998

Build it and the NHL All-Star Game will come.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman put that guarantee into writing for Scottsdale Mayor Sam Campana, provided the Coyotes' desire to build an arena at Los Arcos Mall becomes reality.

"The idea of the Coyotes moving to Scottsdale is very exciting and something we are very enthused about," Bettman said as the NHL Board of Governors meeting ended Tuesday at The Phoenician. "This area, greater Phoenix, Scottsdale and Arizona in general, has been terrific in its acceptance of hockey.

"America West is a terrific arena, but not for hockey. Fans of the Coyotes deserve sight lines and amenities appropriate for an NHL arena. The idea of not raising sales taxes and regenerating the aging Los Arcos development and getting a new home for the Coyotes strikes me as a win, win, win. In fact, I sent the mayor a letter indicating we'd love to bring the All-Star Game here as soon as the arena becomes a reality."

He added that as long as the team stays in America West Arena under its present configuration, the Valley will not host an All-Star Game.

Tuesday night, Coyotes owner Richard Burke and team President Shawn Hunter submitted a proposal to the Scottsdale City Council to establish an on-site stadium district. It would enable developers to recapture state sales tax revenue generated on the site to help defray construction costs. The team and project developers also will invest in the construction.

Scottsdale agreed Tuesday night to put the formation of a stadium district up for vote next Monday, despite lacking a commitment from another city to join in.

The developers told council members that the other city or cities involved would have to vote before Dec. 17 to form a stadium district in order to get the matter on a May 18 ballot.

The state-passed district law requires at least two cities anywhere in Maricopa County to form the district. Campana said she has approached the mayors of Tempe and Paradise Valley about joining the district.

Tempe leaders have expressed interest in the plan, saying they could use the district to help foot the bill for $150 million in renovations to Sun Devil Stadium.

If voters approve the plan, 50 percent of the state sales tax revenue generated by businesses in the revitalized mall over the next decade will be used to finance $111 million for 14,000 parking spaces. It also could pay a portion of the cost of the arena and the conference/convention center. The mall, built in 1969, is at Scottsdale and McDowell roads.

Ironically, Bettman originally put Coyotes ownership together with Suns President Jerry Colangelo to move the team from Winnipeg to Phoenix to play in America West Arena three years ago. Now he's backing construction of a competing arena.

"My relationship with Jerry remains fine," Bettman said. "The Suns and America West are both successful. The bottom line is the Coyotes need a place to play of their own. Long term, in its present configuration, America West has a lot of problems, and I'm hopeful Los Arcos is a reality.

"Some of the problems, for a variety of reasons I don't want to go into, are worse than first figured. We knew Phoenix was a great market and hoped America West could be put into shape and we could avoid the problems referred to. The better alternative, right now, is going to Los Arcos."

Asked about the league's view of the franchise's future in the Valley if the Los Arcos project falls through, Bettman opted to ice the puck.

"Let's focus on what we can make happen and what hopefully will be a reality," he said.

Contributing to this report was staff reporter Alexa Haussler.

On May 18th, 1999 Scottsdale residents voted 62.8% in favor of Proposition 300 which authorized Scottsdale to form a stadium district to help fund a $624 million redevelopment of Los Arcos Mall, including a new arena for the Phoenix Coyotes.

MORE CITIES JOIN COYOTES STADIUM DISTRICT
May 27, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

Encouraged by voters' endorsement of a new stadium district in Scottsdale, the Fountain Hills City Council decided to join the stadium district that will provide financing for a new arena and commercial center. The City of Avondale has previously agreed to become part of the district. Both Avondale and Fountain Hills will receive $1 million from the developers for their participation.

The district will not raise taxes in the communities, but only allows a portion of state sales tax money collected to be diverted to funding the district. While voters have approved the district, they must vote again this fall on the diversion of funds. Scottsdale must also come up with money to match the sales tax diversion that will pay for the $624 million project.

Arizona law requires at least two cities to create a stadium district and bringing more cities into the fold, even if they don't contribute to the income, provide a measure of insurance should voters decide against the deal in Avondale. Members of the communities, however, will be part of the stadium district board.

ARENA EFFORT COSTS COYOTES $1.3 MILLION
June 24, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

It cost the Phoenix Coyotes more than $1.3 million to persuade voters to approve a stadium district to fund a new arena for the team. The figure breaks out to $61 per yes vote for the $624 million project at Los Arcos Mall. The sales tax money will be used to rebuild the area and construct an 18,000-seat arena.

The Coyotes paid $300,000 of the money needed to sell voters on the issue while Ellman Cos, which will develop the mall area, paid in $815,000. The rest came from individual donations and contributed services. Opponents spent $55,000 in an effort to defeat the proposal.

The issue must go before voters again in November for permission to use the money from the district for the development project.

Meanwhile, the Guadalupe Town Council has added its name to the list of cities willing to join with Scottsdale in a stadium district that will help provide a new arena for the Coyotes. Fountain Hills and Avondale are already part of the district that will help finance a $624 million project that includes the arena and a shopping area. Only taxes from Scottsdale will be captured for the development and voters in two of the four cities much approve the plan in November. Developers have agreed to pay Guadalupe and the two other cities $1 million for joining the district.

STADIUM DISTRICT BOARD CREATED IN SCOTTSDALE
July 15, 1999
Copyright 1999 Mediaventures

The powers and duties of a new stadium district board have been outlined in Scottsdale, giving the city approval power over many major actions such as rezoning and seizing of property. The board was approved by voters in April to help fund a new arena for the Phoenix Coyotes and to develop a shopping district. Voters must go back to the polls in November to approve a financing plan for the $624 million project.

Arena vote remains the key hurdle to clear

By Bob McManaman
The Arizona Republic
October 1, 1999

There is no panic. Yet. No signs of an impending fire sale. So far. The payroll won't be slashed. For now.

But it could all change in a heartbeat for the Coyotes, who open their fourth NHL season in the Valley on Saturday with a game in St. Louis against the Blues.

Owner Richard Burke insists he won't buckle under pressure from losing up to $10 million a year on the franchise. Or playing in an arena where a quarter of the seats have obstructed sight lines. Or facing an escalating payroll next season when the contracts of the team's top two stars, Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick, will soar to $8.3 million and $5 million, respectively.

"Once we get the arena vote passed, everything will be fine," Burke said, referring to the team's Los Arcos project, which will go before the voters again on Nov. 2, this time to approve the financing package for the 20,000-seat facility.

A "yes" vote means Burke can line up and secure his investment partners to help shoulder the costs of the franchise. It means revenue streams, as dead as the Coyotes' power play last season, can come to life. It means Tkachuk and Roenick, and any of a half-dozen other key players won't have to be sacrificed in a salary slice.

More important, it means the NHL won't be leaving the Valley any time soon.

But a "no" vote? What happens then?

Welcome to Mystery, Arizona.

"All I know is last year we had 90 points, which is a lot. And every year you expect to get better," said left wing Keith Tkachuk, the Coyotes' captain. "The money situation is out of our control. We've got an average budget and obviously, we don't have the wealthiest team like Detroit or the New York Rangers.

"But if we fall on the vote, a lot will fall. Where would we stand? Where would ownership stand? Do we start having a fire sale? I don't know. But next year I'm going to make 8.3 (million dollars), and that's a tough salary to move. I could probably only be traded to a handful of teams. It definitely weighs on your mind. I love it here. I don't want to leave."

Without a suitable new arena, and the profits it will generate in time, Tkachuk and his teammates may have no choice but to accept their fate. Whatever that is to become.

Teppo Numminen, the best defenseman in club history who is entering the final year of his contract, could be cut loose to test the free-agent market. Rick Tocchet, the team's veteran war horse right wing, could be a logical choice to move at the March trading deadline. Ditto with left wing Greg Adams and perhaps right wing Dallas Drake, both of whom also become free agents at the end of the season.

If Los Arcos is lost, and a Plan B can't be erected in time, what's to stop the team from purging players right away?

"If that happens," Tkachuk said, "I'd be devastated."

So would Roenick, who is as unsure about the future as anyone.

"Hopefully, they can keep us all together," JR said. "Hopefully, they re-sign "Tocc' - which we're all hoping they will - and we can do something to keep Teppo. But I don't know. Keith's going to be making the big money next year, and my salary goes up next year, too. Hopefully, they keep both of us around. This building being passed has a lot to do with who stays and who goes."

General Manager Bobby Smith said the plan is to stay the course. He said he and Burke have no plans to dismantle the roster should the Coyotes lose the November election. But realistically, Smith knows it can't go on like this forever.

"Richard has been willing to underwrite this team's losses to maintain a very competitive team and one I'm very proud of," Smith said. "But I don't know if he'd be willing to do that indefinitely. I wouldn't have blamed him for having told me no on a few occasions when he's told me yes in the past.

"We'll be in a better situation once the arena goes through and Richard gets his partners. If not, we'll have some difficult decisions to make as all teams do. But really, we're in much better shape than some other teams out there."

Despite the fact the Coyotes' payroll hovers at around $30 million and technically, ranks among the bottom third in the league, the team "doesn't operate on a shoestring budget," Smith said.

"The fact of the matter is, there are a few teams at the top of payroll, there are a few at the bottom, and there are probably 16 or 17 in the middle that are, plus or minus, about 3 or 4 percent apart. We're one of those teams," Smith said. "We're probably about 19th in the league. But if we added a $1.2 million contract, we might be No. 11."

If they signed goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who wants $5 million a season, they might be even higher. But that's too much coin for the Coyotes to swallow, even though Burke and Smith strongly contend they're not nickel-and-diming things.

"We don't have million-dollar players in the minors. We're not buying out players. We just signed (defenseman) Todd Gill to a two-year, $3 million contract. We were under no obligation to do that. We sign our draft picks. We just gave (goalie) Patrick DesRochers a million-dollar signing bonus. We just did the same thing with (defenseman) Kirill Safronov.

"Look, some teams don't even have rookie camp. We went to Finland with a bunch of prospects, which was a pretty big chunk of change, and nobody bats an eye. But we did it for one reason, to make our team better four, five years from now."

Trading center Cliff Ronning a year ago was, however, a cost-cutting maneuver acknowledged by the club. But Smith said he doesn't foresee any similar moves being made. And that includes Tkachuk and Roenick.

"We've got $8.5 million tied into those two players this year," he said. "That's pushed us from being in the middle of the pack at about $26 million to 30ish. If the middle of the pack next year is $34 million, we're going to have to make a decision as to whether we can be in that group. But I can tell you now, the answer will be yes."

Will Smith still be singing the same tune after Nov. 2? Or, should the Coyotes and their fans brace themselves for wholesale changes?

Privately, some players already are convinced that this could be their final season together, that this might be the last run the core group of skaters gets a chance to make at the Stanley Cup.

"I don't want to believe that," defenseman Deron Quint said. "I think Richard Burke has done a great job of keeping us together. He wants a winner, and I think we have one here. . . . I don't see any reason why this team can't stay intact for four years and maybe win two or three Cups."

Nobody wants to win as badly as the Coyotes' top three dogs - Tkachuk, Roenick and Tocchet. It's all they talk about.

"We want to get there together," Roenick said. "I haven't been to the Finals for seven or eight years now. That's a long time. I don't want to go there with any other team. I'm on the team I want to be on.

"I have my heart and soul behind this team, regardless of what some people might think. I know there are different opinions of me out there because I'm controversial and an outspoken person. Maybe even some of my teammates aren't crazy about me because I'm flashy or too showboaty. But I know what I'm about. I know what I'm for.

"If coming back last year for Game 7 of the playoffs with a busted jaw isn't enough to show people how much I want my team to win, well, they can choose to think what they want."

There's enough to think about already.

PHOENIX ARENA OPPONENTS SEEK TO DISQUALIFY 16,000 EARLY-VOTING BALLOTS
October 21, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

Opponents of a proposed arena for the Phoenix Coyotes say nearly 16,000 ballots cast in early voting should be rejected because of misleading statements made by Scottsdale city officials who support the issue. The group has told a judge that the city failed to tell voters the city must match state subsidies for the project. The ballot issue only asks voter approval for using state sales tax money to help build the $585 million arena and shopping mall issue.

This is the second vote on the 18,000-seat arena issue. Voters in May approved creation of a stadium district to fund the venue and now are being asked to approve the diversion of state sales tax money. No tax increase is required. Approval is also needed from voters in Guadalupe or Fountain Hills for the plan to be complete.

Coyotes head for the Phoenix suburbs

The Coyotes will take step two Nov. 2 in the journey to build a new arena in Scottsdale as part of a shopping district renovation project. Voters in May approved a stadium district 63% to 37% to build a new arena for the NHL Coyotes. The district provides the funding structure for a $624 million sports and entertainment complex that includes a 18,000-seat arena for the Coyotes. The team now plays at America West Arena. If the second approval is given, the arena could be open for play by 2001.

Arizona law requires at least two cities for the creation of a stadium district. Fountain Hills and Guadalupe are also voting on the sales tax issue. Both communities were offered $1 million to join the district.

In all, the 92-acre development will include the arena plus a 500-room hotel, a conference facility, a YMCA along with various retail establishments. Scottsdale will invest $100 million if voters approve while $220 million will come from state sales taxes in the district. The Coyotes and Ellman Cos, the project developer, will pay the remaining $404 million.

The Coyotes sought to leave America West Arena in order to gain more revenue. The Coyotes do not control the luxury suites at the venue and more than 4,000 seats cannot be sold because they have a limited view of the ice. The team also does not have control over signage or other arena revenue sources. The city had proposed making changes to the venue for the Coyotes, but the team said it was not interested.

The Coyotes will be joined in the arena by a professional soccer team and will help fund a $3.5 million YMCA.

COYOTES APPEAR HEADED TO ARENA VICTORY
October 28, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

A poll finds 59% of local residents are in favor of using state sales tax money to fund a new arena for the Phoenix Coyotes. No tax increase is needed and residents believe the project would revitalize a troubled portion of the city, according to a poll done for the Arizona Republic. The poll has an error margin of 4%. Thirteen percent said they were undecided.

In addition to the diversion of state sales tax money, the city must provide $100 million toward the project, but that portion of the deal is not part of the vote.

In addition to the 18,000-seat arena, the $535 million project provides for renovation of a shopping area that once supported 60 stores and which now had eight.

Meanwhile, a judge will rule today (Thursday) on whether Scottsdale officials misled the public in literature about the election by not stating that the city must match the subsidy approved by voters. The material talks only about the sales tax issue. The group asked that 16,000 early-voting ballots be declared invalid.

Lawyers for the stadium district and Scottsdale will argue the group filed the lawsuit too late and that it should be rejected.

SECOND ARENA WOULD BOOST COMPETITIVE EFFORTS IN PHOENIX

If the Phoenix Coyotes succeed in building a new arena, the competition between the new venue and America West Arena would be fierce for both to survive. Voters next week will decide the fate of a proposal to channel state sales tax money in Scottsdale toward a new arena and shopping development. Polls indicate the issue will pass.

At America West, where the Coyotes now play, the team generates $1.8 million a year or about 9% of total operating revenue. Of that, the city gets up to $80,000. While the loss of the Coyotes may not itself do major damage to the arena's budget, the potential loss of other touring shows to the new venue could make the cumulative losses significant.

Others say that's not a problem. Consultants who have studied the market say some shows have bypassed Phoenix because there was not time available at America West Arena. If a second venue was available, more shows may visit the city, meaning both venues could prosper. Jerry Colangelo, owner of the Phoenix Suns which manage the venue, says he might even consider putting a minor league hockey team into the arena.

Meanwhile the Coyotes say they must have their own venue because they get virtually no facility revenue from America West Arena, plus they cannot sell thousands of seats because they have restricted views of the ice. The Coyotes say their arena can make money on 115 events a year, including their own 41 matches and those of the Arizona Thunder soccer team.

Thursday, January 20
Burke offered to pay $170 million arena cost

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes owner Richard Burke says he recently offered to pay the entire $170 million cost of a new arena that's to be part of a slow-moving redevelopment plan, a newspaper says.

"If paying for the whole thing isn't good enough, we can't do more," Burke told the Tribune, a newspaper serving suburban Phoenix.

Bob Kaufman, a senior vice president with the developer, the Ellman Cos., declined comment on that offer but told the Tribune an investor group put together by company owner Steve Ellman is "very, very close" to buying the franchise from Burke.

Burke told the newspaper that no sale was imminent and that Ellman hadn't been authorized to broker a deal but rather merely to identify potential buyers.

Burke made his full-financing offer in mid-December. It included pledging $7 million a year to the development team with that money to come from naming rights, corporate sponsorships and luxury suite revenue, the newspaper said.

Burke said he was willing to put up the entire franchise and future arena revenue streams as collateral.

Timing has been a problem all along and is seen as one of increasing concern. Ellman has yet to apply for necessary permits, such as for demolition of buildings that are part of the defunct shopping center where the arena and a combination of movie theaters, restaurants and retail stores are to be built in a $535 million complex.

Burke has said that with a construction schedule of 18 to 20 months, work needs to begin this month if the 18,000-seat arena is to be ready for the intended October 2001 opening.

The team's lease at America West Arena in Phoenix expires 30 days after the 2001 season, though an extension has been promised.

But the inadequacy of the arena for hockey, and the revenue situation there, are factors that led Burke to press for the team's own arena.

The Tribune said the financial reports it saw showed that the franchise lost $23 million over the last two seasons.

Politics adds a dimension to the timing as well since Scottsdale elects a new mayor and three City Council members in March.

Kaufman said the way to solve the timing problem is through quick action on buying the team from Burke. Ellman visited New York last week to line up investors and for a preliminary discussion with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Coyotes score hat trick
November 4, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

Voters in Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Guadalupe all signed on to fund a new stadium district that will create a new arena for the NHL Coyotes and renovate a dilapidated mall. The vote was 58% in favor in Scottsdale, 65% in favor in Fountain Hills and 81% in favor in Guadalupe. Scottsdale and one other community was needed for the issue to survive. Fountain Hills and Guadalupe each earned $1 million from the developers for their support. The issue does not require a tax increase, but will divert state sales tax money in Scottsdale and require $100 million in local matching funds.

The 92-acre, $624 million development will include the 18,000-seat arena plus a 500-room hotel, a conference facility, a YMCA along with various retail establishments. The Coyotes and Ellman Cos, the project developer, will pay $404 million.

The Coyotes sought to leave America West Arena in order to gain more revenue. The Coyotes do not control the luxury suites at the venue and more than 4,000 seats cannot be sold because they have a limited view of the ice. The team also does not have control over signage or other arena revenue sources. The city had proposed making changes to the venue for the Coyotes, but the team said it was not interested.

The Coyotes will be joined in the arena by a professional soccer team and will help fund a $3.5 million YMCA. The team's lease expires in 2001 and the team wants to pursue an aggressive construction schedule in hopes of opening the venue for the 2001-2002 season. The team must still hire a builder and architect and negotiate a lease with the district. Construction is not expected to start before next year and demolition is needed to clear the site.

Marty Sauerzopf
The Arizona Republic
April 03, 2002 17:05:00

On a day when thousands of hockey fans poured onto a Glendale cotton field to witness the birth of a new arena and get a glimpse of ice legend Wayne Gretzky, a politician got one of the largest ovations.

"It's really nice to see one stadium that is breaking ground," Gov. Jane Hull said Wednesday as work officially began on a new 17,500-seat arena for the Phoenix Coyotes.

The appreciative cheer from more than 2,000 Coyotes fans, most from the West Valley, sent a chilling "told-you-so" message to the Arizona Cardinals, who spurned the West Valley in their search for a new stadium.

In Glendale, just one year after Mayor Elaine Scruggs had her first meeting with Coyotes owner and developer Steve Ellman, work is beginning, while the Cardinals project lies in shambles.

"They (the Coyotes) will be appreciated here," Scruggs said. "The enthusiasm and loyalty of West Valley residents is unparalleled anywhere."

Wednesday's two-hour celebration, which featured free food, drinks, a live band and an appearance by the entire Coyotes team, played out like a West Valley pep rally. And the cheering masses soaked in every word of it, vowing to support the franchise in their move out of America West Arena.

"We'll be at every game, if we can afford it," said Glendale resident Jane Wistern. "It's about time the west side got its due."

Hundreds of fans arrived hours before the 1 p.m. celebration began, hoping to grab one of the 2,000 commemorative hockey pucks. Once the gates opened, the pucks quickly disappeared.

"It's great to be in hockey country," said Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League. "There is really no place else we'd rather be. Arizona is a great state for sports."

Ellman basked in the spotlight's glow, and chided critics who questioned whether an $800 million commercial center built around a $180 million publicly funded hockey arena will succeed at Glendale Avenue and Loop 101.

"Ten years from today, I expect people will be saying, 'Why did they build an arena in the middle of a city?' " Ellman said.

Frequently Asked Questions
About the 101 Retail/Arena Project


Q. 1     Glendale has never seemed interested in attracting sports venues such as baseball spring training facilities before. Why was it interested in this arena?

Whenever Glendale has been approached by sports groups in the past, the teams were strictly looking for the city to build them an arena or stadium. The only revenue to the city would be from the use of the facility for other events when not being used by the team.

Glendale has had many opportunities offered, but it has been waiting patiently for what we considered the “right” deal that would bring the most benefit to our city and its residents. Glendale feels this is the right project. We were attracted to this sports project because it was much more than just sports. What really piqued Glendale’s interest in the beginning was the possibility of it being a redevelopment project for Manistee Town Center, an empty mall on acreage similar in size to Los Arcos Mall, that the neighbors had wanted revitalized for quite some time.

As the project evolved into a project on the 101 freeway, we saw it as an incredible opportunity to bring a high quality, mixed-use commercial/office/residential development into the heart of Glendale’s last undeveloped area, speeding up the economics of the area and generating huge amounts of sales and lease taxes for the city. The arena was seen as secondary and being the home of the Coyotes was a bonus in this enormous economic development project that would be a Valleywide destination.

What made this project even better, was the fact that Ellman recognized that Glendale would not have considered the arena deal if it did not include the redevelopment of the Manistee site, so he was willing to enter into a partnership with the city to develop that site as well. This makes it a win-win for Glendale.


Q. 2     Why didn’t the arena end up at Manistee?

Ellman Companies, the project developer, was concerned that the site was too far from any freeway (4 miles to the nearest – I-17) and that fans would have a hard time getting there on arterial streets during rush hour for game starts. Since it is also surrounded on three sides by single-family residential, the height of the arena would have far exceeded limitations for the area and the facility would have had to be buried considerably, creating construction problems.


Q. 3     Why did Glendale take this deal from Scottsdale?

Glendale did not “take” the arena from Scottsdale. We were not a predator. We were asked by a friend of the Coyotes if we were interested in having the arena IF the deal in Scottsdale fell apart. Initially, we expressed interest only because we saw the opportunity to redevelop Manistee Town Center. So we called Grant Woods and told him we would like our site to be on their waiting list along with other cities IF they could not come to terms with Scottsdale.

While the Manistee site did not work for Ellman and the Coyotes, they very much liked what they saw in Glendale and the West Valley with its current demographics and its growth potential especially along the 101 freeway. Since the National Hockey League will not allow a team to be without a home for even one day, they began having discussions with Glendale as well as cities in other states in case they would not be able to meet their deadline of late April for making a decision with Scottsdale. The Glendale 200-acre 101 site offered Ellman about 140 more acres than he had at Los Arcos so he could build more retail space in total – as much as 3 million square feet - without abutting neighborhoods as was the case in Scottsdale. The Glendale 101 freeway site also had the advantage of less height restrictions and less nearby competition so it would be more marketable to a wider variety of national tenants. It became quickly apparent to Ellman and the Coyotes that the Glendale opportunity at the 101 site was the best solution for the Coyotes and allowed the team to stay in Arizona.


Q. 4     It took Scottsdale two years to work on this deal and Glendale did it in one month. How could it work so fast in Glendale?

The deal in Scottsdale was very different from Glendale’s.
The Scottsdale Deal
Scottsdale was dealing with a legislative “Multipurpose Facilities District” that first required that they find other cities to vote to be a member of the district. That took some time, but Scottsdale finally got a positive Council vote from Fountain Hills and Guadalupe. Using this legislation required a vote of the Scottsdale residents to approve the formation of the district which gave Scottsdale the authority to keep all sales taxes collected from the district rather than pay the usual portion to the state and school districts, etc. Once the district was formed, the financing had to be worked out as to how to qualify the project for state funding. After that was figured out, the cities in the “Multipurpose Facilities District” had to vote again six months later to approve the financing package.

Steve Ellman was the developer of the mixed-use project containing the Coyotes arena. He felt the arena was key to the success of the project because it turned it into it a Valleywide destination. However, during the time he and Scottsdale were working on the details of the “Multipurpose Facilities District,” Coyote’s owner Richard Burke decided to sell the franchise. It appeared very likely that the hockey team would have to move out of Arizona. Ellman stepped up to buy the team to keep them in Arizona and to keep the arena as a part of his Los Arcos project. The time it took Ellman to put together the funding to finally purchase the team added to the timetable in Scottsdale.
The Glendale Deal
Glendale’s deal had nothing to do with the “Multipurpose Facilities District.” It was strictly a negotiation between the city and the developer, who also had to negotiate with the landowner. By the time Glendale began preliminary discussions with Ellman in mid-March, the Coyotes were up against their deadline of finding a home in or out of Arizona by the end of April. Team schedules are finalized in May, and Ellman was compelled by circumstances to make a decision on whether he was leaving Arizona for another city and, if not, to let the cities know that the team had found a home in Arizona.

Therefore, when it appeared that Glendale’s site on the 101 was more likely to come to fruition than Los Arcos (which was headed for more delays), the negotiations had to be done very quickly to come to an agreement before the deadline.


Q. 5     Scottsdale residents got to vote on the Los Arcos project. Why didn’t Glendale residents get to vote on this project?

As stated in the previous answer, Glendale’s deal was very different from Scottsdale’s. Public votes were required by state statute in Scottsdale because they chose to use a state legislative funding mechanism known as a “Multipurpose Facilities District” to fund the Los Arcos project with taxes from the project. Voters in Scottsdale were required by state law to vote on approving the formation of the district with Fountain Hills and Guadalupe and then vote a second time to approve the finance package.

Glendale could not use the legislative district because the law that allows such funding has since been rescinded by the state legislature. Scottsdale’s district was the last one formed before the law was changed.

As stated previously, this is an economic development project for Glendale. The city is not required by its charter or by state statute to put economic development projects to a vote of the people. These projects are usually decided upon by the Mayor and City Council who have been elected by the people to act on their behalf in important business matters.

While you may not have had the chance to express your opinion in the voting process, you will have plenty of opportunities to be involved in the process this project will go through in the upcoming months. Please see the next question for ways in which citizens can participate in the process.


Q. 6     Why didn’t the public get to have input into this project?

As with any economic development project that comes to the city, negotiations between the city and the prospective developer are initially confidential. These are business transactions where the parties involved have a right to expect confidentiality while coming to terms. Just like private corporations, cities, too, have to be able to enter into contractual business agreements. That is why elected bodies are given the right by state statute to discuss their negotiating position in private in Executive Sessions. To do so in public, would, in some cases, jeopardize the city’s ability to effectively negotiate and compete when economic opportunities arise. After the business entities come to terms and reach a formal agreement, the negotiations made public. As soon as preliminary “Memorandums of Agreement” were reached for the 101 site and the Manistee site, these agreements were voted on at public session.

This is not a new concept. This same type of process was followed during the initial negotiations over 20 years ago with Hunt-Stevens, the master-planner of Arrowhead Ranch and 10 -12 years ago with Westcor, developer of Arrowhead Towne Center. Both of these projects were negotiated in private until preliminary understandings were reached and the deals made public. Then binding, detailed development agreements were drawn up on each of these projects just as is currently being done between Ellman and the city.

Even if we could have had public involvement without jeopardizing our negotiating position, the short timeframe for this project allowed insufficient time to obtain direct citizen involvement. Glendale’s initial involvement began in mid-March and the deadline for Ellman to make a final decision was the end of April.


Q. 7     Will we get to have citizen participation in the future?

Just as with any other commercial or residential development in Glendale, there will be several opportunities for citizen involvement. First, a public hearing will be conducted at a future Council meeting on the final development agreements for the 101 site and the Manistee sites. When the 101 property comes before the City Council for annexation there will be opportunities for public input. After annexation, the property will have to be rezoned and hearings will be conducted by the Planning Commission and also by the City Council at which time the public will be asked to comment. Finally, the city will follow its precedent-setting Citizen Participation Ordinance process when site development plans become available for both the 101 and Manistee sites. Following our normal process, the developer will be required to meet with neighbors and other interested parties to get their input and satisfaction with the site plans before the plans are brought to Council for approval.


Q. 8     How is the project going to be paid for?

The city proposes to issue a combined $180 million of general obligation and municipal property corporation bonds. Our assumptions at this point are that this $180 million loan would cost the city about $414 million over a 30-year period if we conservatively assume the $180 million is amortized over a 30-year period at a 6.5% interest rate. Annual debt payments beginning in Fiscal Year 2003-04 will be paid from sales taxes generated by the surrounding retail project, estimated at $224 million over 30 years. Parking and shared arena revenues will generate approximately $90 million in additional funding for debt payment over 30 years. The remaining $100 million over a 30-year period would be for general obligation (GO) debt payments to cover the cost of public improvements such as infrastructure and street improvements and park and open space elements included in the development project. This GO debt will be made from existing property tax collections, with no increase in the overall property tax rate.

If development of any portion of the accompanying retail/commercial project is delayed beyond 18 months of the schedule assumed in the Development Agreement, and as a result, a shortfall in tax revenues required to pay the debt service results, the developer will have to pay a portion of the shortfall.

In addition, the city will be seeking funding from the Tourism and Sports Authority (TSA), the entity which is using Proposition 302 monies to fund the football stadium, spring training facilities and youth sports facilities, to try to gain their participation in our funding of the arena. Glendale will also be seeking further assistance from the legislature in recognition of having saved hockey for Arizona. While the city is totally capable of funding this arena without the help of the TSA and the legislature, it will make the debt service easier if these two state groups can support Glendale’s efforts.


Q. 9     Why are my tax dollars being used to pay for this arena project?

Most arenas and stadiums in the U.S. today are paid for in some way with public dollars because the facilities are being built for the public interest. For instance, Bank One Ballpark, all the Spring Training facilities, and the new Cardinal’s stadium have been or are being built with public funds. However, the primary method of paying the debt on the Coyote arena project will be with the taxes generated by the accompanying mixed-use entertainment/retail/office project on the site.

The only public monies we are committing are bonds that have already been authorized by our citizens in a 1999 Bond Election. Bonds authorized for economic development projects, street and infrastructure improvements, and for parks, trails and open spaces will be used to help fund the project. Using public funds in this way for improvements that will be of benefit to the general public is a common way that cities partner with the private sector in development projects.

Both the Arrowhead Ranch master-planned community and the Arrowhead Towne Center development received substantial infrastructure improvements from the city and both have created tremendous increases in the assessed valuation of the city which has improved Glendale’s ability to pay for capital projects in other areas of the city. At the same time, the retail components of these projects have brought much-needed sales tax dollars that have allowed us to provide services and programs citywide and especially in many older areas of our city where little revenue is generated.


Q. 10     Will adding General Obligation bond debt negatively effect any of the city’s current or planned projects or services?

We will structure the debt so as NOT to effect any other city projects that have been currently funded or planned for in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan. Actually, annexing this property will increase the city’s assessed valuation and give us greater capacity to utilize bonds already authorized by our citizens in the 1999 Bond Election.


Q. 11     What has the City done in the way of “due diligence” to assure that we are limiting the liability of the City for this project?

In all its financial forecasting on this project the City has taken a very conservative stance on the numbers entered into its modeling system. We made sure that we could make debt payments through revenue sources which will NOT have an effect on citizens and their planned city services or capital projects. Not only did Glendale’s Economic Development, Finance and Management and Budget departments run extensive financial models on the financials for the project, the city also used its financial consultant (Johnson and Company) and its bond counsel (Cutler and Chapman) to review its assumptions. Glendale has also contracted with Ernst and Young to do a complete feasibility study to determine the maximum retail potential for the 101 site.

Additionally, the city used financial adviser Peacock, Hislop, Staley and Given, Inc to work with us on the proposal. This firm’s Managing Director Grant Hamill told the April 16th edition of Bond Buyer magazine, that the deal appears to be a win-win situation for the city.

“Sports arenas of this cost and magnitude would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.” Hamill said. “Now, the West Valley area has the population and the economic base to support it. It should spur a lot of retail development for the people who are already there and the people who will be there in the future.”

The staging of the development around the arena is crucial since the city will use sales taxes collected from the development to retire the debt. For that reason, the “Memorandum of Agreement” includes stipulations that Ellman pay penalities should the development not be completed on the agreed upon schedule.


Q. 12     I feel there are other areas of our city, especially older ones, that need improving more than we need an arena. How could having an arena possibly help those issues?

When completed, these two projects – the 101 site and the Manistee site - will increase the assessed valuation of the city overall, which allows us to use more of our bonding authority the voters gave us in 1999 to do projects in older neighborhoods. It is the increased assessed value of the Bell Road corridor and the sales tax it returns that has allowed the city to do many CIP projects we couldn’t have otherwise been able to without the presence of the Arrowhead Towne Center and its surrounding retail.


Q. 13     Why is Glendale doing this by itself? Why aren’t we doing this with all or some of the Westmarc member cities?

This deal is very different than the football stadium issue. For the football stadium, a Valleywide tax was passed to fund only a stadium (no other development) and then potential sites were called for and analyzed in a public forum over an extended period of time. The only sharing of costs among West Valley cities in that deal was for a feasibility study. Avondale would have benefited most because it would have been in that city.

The Coyotes deal, on the other hand, is being done by a private developer, not the state, so he did not go out for a public bidding process. Since none of the other West Valley cities (all of whom belong to WESTMARC) were going to benefit as much as Glendale, we did not believe we should ask them to participate in our feasibility project.


Q. 14     What is going to happen with the zoning on the Ellman property?

Since the property is currently in the county, it has county agricultural zoning on it.

The city must annex the property at the request of the landowner. When that annexation is complete in 3 to 4 months, a zoning hearing will be held before the planning Commission and Council will eventually be asked to vote to change the zoning to the city of Glendale standard recommended by the Planning Commission.

A Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning would probably be recommended. This is a specialty zoning that can accommodate unusual land uses such as the hockey arena and the other mixed uses (entertainment/retail/office/commercial/residential) by combining various land through common design elements. This zoning encourages creative and effective land use. It is important to the city that the zoning category allows the best possible land use while meeting the mutual objectives of the Ellman Companies and the City of Glendale.

Other examples of such PADs in Glendale are the Arrowhead Towne Center and the Talavi Towne Center developments.


Q. 15     I read in the newspaper that Ellman expects Glendale to build him a practice facility. Is that true?

There is absolutely no truth to that statement. The only public money being spent on the project is to reimburse Mr.Ellman for construction and related costs on the arena, the presence, of which, will make Glendale a Valleywide destination for nearly one million fans a year who will spend money in the surrounding retail complex.

In the beginning, little more than a hockey arena will loom at the Loop 101 development in western Glendale.

A site plan submitted to the city by the Ellman Cos. projects openings in 2003 for the arena, a Coyotes practice facility and a grocery store in the northeastern corner of the site.

2004, however, would bring stores, restaurants, bars and a movie complex, according to the phase one projections.

Glendale is requiring that stores and other retail businesses be operating in 800,000 square feet within six months of the arena's completion.

The submitted plans say 722,000 square feet of "mixed use entertainment commercial" will be built in the first phase. In addition, 448,200 square feet of retail businesses are to open in the 2003-04 period.

"We see this as a large regional mall, except it is an open-air town center. It will have the same type stores you find in a major mall," said Anthony Cosentino, a vice president with Ellman Cos. "The center area is primarily restaurants and drinking establishments."

Likewise, he said, a business center on the site's western edge will be what is called a power center. Business power centers comprise large discount stores that often are set near a mall. Circuit City, Petsmart and Best Buy are examples of power center stores.

Glendale is demanding retail stores because it is counting on sales taxes from the site. The city needs the money to pay back about $150 million in bonds it will sell to finance the arena construction.

An additional $30 million for infrastructure and common areas is to be repaid from general property tax collections.

Ellman does not control the 25 acres in the southwestern corner of the 225-acre site. Roston Corp. wants to build up to 625 apartments on that space.

Should the city reject the apartment plan, Ellman is obligated to buy the property from Roston.

At a citizens meeting last week, the mood was overwhelmingly against the apartment idea.

The crowd reacted favorably when Cosentino offered the idea of two- and three-story office buildings instead of apartments.

"We're OK with everything except apartments," one person said.

Reach the reporter at dennis.godfrey@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-6921.

  • 223 acres located in Glendale Arizona, the western gateway to metropolitan Phoenix, at the intersection of Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue.

  • 6,000,000 square feet mixed-use development including retail, entertainment, office, hotel, and residential use.

  • Premier urban village development featuring a 17,500 seat multi-purpose arena which will be the new home of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes Hockey Club.

“In our 20 years of real estate development, I've never seen a project with such tremendous potential as the development at Westgate. With all indicators and trends pointing to the West Valley’s rapid and expansive growth, Westgate is truly poised to become the crown jewel in the Valley's retail, entertainment, residential, and office markets.”

Project developer Steve Ellman
Chairman — The Ellman Companies

Wednesday, April 3

Bettman, Gretzky on hand for ceremony Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A flight of F-15s roared overhead as the Phoenix Coyotesbroke ground on their new arena, an easy metaphor for the soaring fortunes of the organization.

The ceremonial turning of earth Wednesday coincided with a stretch run in which the Coyotes have earned points in 17 of 19 games and are pushing San Jose for leadership of the Pacific Division.

Hundreds of people walked along dusty roads to reach the site and then and waited patiently in 94-degree heat for a glimpse of Coyotes players like Teppo Numminen and Shane Doan, Coyotes managing general partner Wayne Gretzky and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman, who kept his dark suit coat on despite being seated in full sun, said the Coyotes have already applied to host an All-Star game and promised one would be forthcoming soon after their new, $180 million home is finished. The 17,500-seat building is expected to open in December 2003. "On behalf of the league, there's really no place else we'd rather be," Bettman said. "Arizona is great for sports, and it's a reflection on the league that we now have a home here."

The team had until June 1 to break ground and still has until Sept. 30, 2004, to open the arena. But the Coyotes have only 12,000 seats with an unobstructed view of the ice surface at the American West Arena in Phoenix, so management has pressed to get going since focusing on the Glendale site a year ago.

Bettman also praised Steve Ellman and Gretzky for providing stable ownership and building a playoff contender.

"Wayne Gretzky, you have no peer," Bettman said. "And you're an integral part in making all of this work. Frankly, I don't think it's too trite to say, particularly after Salt Lake City (where Gretzky's Team Canada won the Olympics), everything you touch turns to gold."

Gretzky, the game's greatest scorer, is often credited with saving hockey in Arizona by giving Ellman's group credibility by joining the management team. But he spoke about Bettman's role with keeping the NHL in the state. "So many other people wanted to come in and scoop up this franchise and move it to another city," Gretzky said. "He's the one person who really stood behind this city."

The rural setting, with a plowed field behind the hospitality tent, seemed incongruous with the expectations for the 223-acre site, which will be filled by an $800 million commercial, residential and entertainment project when completed.

But former state attorney general Grant Woods, Ellman's point man in the hunt for an arena site and funding, mentioned several major shopping cores in more affluent suburbs that sprang out of desert environments in the last decade, and said the same thing could happen in Glendale.

"I suspect in 10 years people will be asking why they put this arena in the middle of the city," he said.

The arena was originally planned for Scottsdale, an east side suburb, with a January 2000 groundbreaking. But that was delayed while Ellman negotiated to buy the team, then abandoned because of dogged opposition from residents and some city officials.

America West
America West Arena
Jobing.com Arena
Jobing.com Arena



Help us provide a better web site by sending us your
Comments, Suggestions, Complaints, Contributions, Additions, Pictures, or Literary Works to
the Ballparks.COM Webmasters

BALLPARKS © 1996-2013 by Munsey & Suppes.