Tuesday marks last day for Tempe residents to vote on Coyotes proposed entertainment district

Tuesday is the last day to vote yes or no on three propositions that would either give this project the green light or stop it in its tracks.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 9:33 PM MST|Updated: May. 15, 2023 at 9:42 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - We may know the fate of the proposed sports and entertainment district in Tempe near Tempe Town Lake on Tuesday evening. The multi-billion-dollar project would include a new sports arena for the Arizona Coyotes and retail and residential space.

There have been a lot of strong opinions on this project from both sides, so it will be interesting to see what happens. In November, every member of Tempe’s city council voted in favor of the project, so now it’s up to Tempe voters to decide on three propositions that would have to pass for the multi-billion dollar project to sit along Rio Salado Parkway. “We already have over I believe it’s 27,000 ballots that have been received and processed,” Arizona Coyotes CEO and President Xavier Gutierrez said.

The fate of a $2.1 billion project expected to bring thousands of jobs, housing and a sports and music entertainment arena to the city now lies in the hands of Tempe voters. Tuesday is the last day to vote yes or no on three propositions that would either give this project the green light or stop it in its tracks. “We know this will be great for the first of Tempe,” Gutierrez said.

Critics like Tempe business owner Gayle Shanks worry the deal will impact the cost of living. “I have serious concerns of many aspects of this project,” she said. “It’s not going to bring affordable housing which is something we need here in Tempe.”

She also fears taxpayers will pay for some of the project costs. But Gutierrez says that is not true. “There are no dollars coming out of the general fund and no taxes being raised. That’s been a complete misrepresentation of this entire deal,” he said.

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo says the development will be privately funded. “We did our own study, the city did their own study then we had the ASU Institute review both and all confirmed taxpayers are not on the hook,” Gutierrez said.

Back in March, the City of Phoenix sued Tempe to prevent this development, saying it sits directly under a Sky Harbor flight path which Phoenix says violates a 1994 agreement between the two cities. However, Gutierrez believes that the lawsuit will settle itself if people vote to approve the project. “We will, at the appropriate time, ask the City of Phoenix to respect the wishes of the voters of Tempe and council of Tempe and move on from continuing to move forward with their lawsuit,” Gutierrez said.

People can vote in person Tuesday at City Hall from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. We are expecting unofficial results to come in around 8 p.m.