Multimillion dollar aquarium project in Tempe could be put on hold

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TEMPE -- A judge could put the kibosh on mulitmillion dollar project meant to help revitalize Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe.

A hearing will be held this morning to determine the future of Sea Life Arizona, 26,000-square-foot development featuring 12 different habitat zones that will house thousands of sea creatures in more than 30 displays.

The Goldwater Institute says the agreement between Sea Life, which also runs an aquarium in Carlsbad,Calif., and the city of Tempe is unconstitutional.

The aquarium is set to receive rebated on more than $1 mill in fees and taxes. According to the Goldwater Institute, that violates Arizona's gift clause.

Depending on what happens at today's hearing, the project could be on hold.

The $15 million aquarium is already under construction, on track to open next spring.

Sea Life is a part of Merlin Entertainments Group.