PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- The Phoenix City Council on Wednesday delayed a vote on a massive renovation at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
If the renovations measure were to pass, the City would revamp the building at a cost of $230 million, a portion of which would come from the Suns organization.
The City insists the big price tag will come at a minimum cost to taxpayers. It says the money will come from tourism taxes, which will hit "out-of-towners" the most.
Some of the plans for the renovation include a new roof, scoreboard and food dock on the main concourse.
The renovations could keep the team playing in downtown Phoenix through at least 2037.
The Suns have been asking the City for an updated arena for years, but have been unable to get the Council to publicly consider a deal until recently.
Interim Mayor Thelda Williams and City Council members Debra Stark and Laura Pastor released a brief statement Wednesday saying the issue will be continued Jan. 23.
In the meantime, City leaders are asking for two hearings to allow the public to weigh in.
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The decision indicates the Council doesn't have the five votes needed to approve that deal at this time.
Over the past week, three of the eight Council members publicly said they planned to vote no.
Under the proposed agreement, Phoenix would pay $150 million to upgrade the nearly 30-year-old Talking Stick Resort Arena, the oldest in the NBA that is not currently being renovated. The Suns agreed to kick in another $80 million and pay for any improvements over the $230 million mark.
The Suns agreed to a 40-year lease in 1992, but the deal included a provision for the team to opt out at 30 years.
Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher said Wednesday that he is optimistic Phoenix will keep the team despite today's setback.
"They are a critical part of the downtown," Zuercher said.
However, time is ticking to settle the issue.
The City is holding a mayoral election in March and the leading candidate, Kate Gallego, has said that she strongly opposes spending public money on sports arenas.
She recently told Arizona's Family that team owner Robert Sarver should spend his own money fixing up the arena.
Gallego sent out the following statement.
I applaud Mayor Williams and members of the Phoenix City Council for listening to Phoenicians and delaying the vote on Talking Stick Resort Arena to allow for additional public input. The city has been considering the best options for the Suns’ future in Downtown Phoenix for years – this is not an issue that should be rushed through a council vote. We should lead by example and provide a well-executed and timely forum for public feedback. Phoenix has limited resources and many competing needs such as public safety, infrastructure, and providing solutions for homelessness.
Voters know where I stand. Professional sports are among the most profitable enterprises in America, and they can pay for their own facilities.
The Suns have been a significant asset to Phoenix culture, community, and business. I hope to work with ownership to keep them in Downtown Phoenix, but without a public subsidy.
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