Sources: Arizona Coyotes consider former site of Fiesta Mall in Mesa for sports arena

File - Arizona Coyotes home game.
File - Arizona Coyotes home game.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 9:54 AM MST|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 11:50 AM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- As the Arizona Coyotes consider the next steps regarding where their team will be based, Arizona’s Family has learned that the team has its eyes now set on Mesa.

Sources within the City of Mesa tell Arizona’s Family political editor Dennis Welch that the NHL team reached out on Wednesday after the loss of a public referendum in Tempe that would have created a new entertainment venue between the Mill Avenue district and Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. Details are still extremely limited on how far the talks have gone or if Mesa would consider such a proposal. Still, any potential arena deal is likely to require a public vote and put forth another referendum and a potential special election.

Less than two hours after Arizona’s Family broke the news, the city released a statement supporting the redevelopment of the site but stopped short of mentioning the team by name or about any potential deals being brokered within the community.

“For years Mesa has supported the redevelopment of the Fiesta District. Aside from being a key site for the District, Fiesta Mall is one of the most attractive pieces of urban real estate in the valley today. It is massive, adjacent to three major highways, and only 20 minutes from two major airports,” the statement read. “We look forward to working with the property owner on proposals to bring diverse uses to the Fiesta Mall site and long-term sustainable and vibrant economic activity to the Fiesta District.”

In the meantime, the Coyotes have announced that they would play at Mullett Arena in Tempe as they battle a tough loss of what would have been one of the largest sports deals in the state’s history. The Coyotes had played this past season at Mullett Arena in Tempe, sharing the brand-new 5,000-seat complex with the Arizona State University Sun Devils, and have a contract to play there through the 2024-2025 season.

Tempe voters overwhelmingly rejected the Coyotes’ proposed $2.1 billion entertainment district and arena earlier this week. Arizona’s Family spoke with Sam Almy, a data analyst with Uplift Campaigns. They broke down the early voting numbers in this special election. “Under 35 years old, it was about 12 to 13 percent turn out, where 65+ was closer to 63 percent turn out,” Almy said. That analysis says more than 50 percent of votes came from people who didn’t live directly near the proposed site. “South Tempe Legislative District 12 made up about 52 to 54 percent of all early returns,” he said. District 12 is south of the U.S. 60.