In my five years in public office, Tempe residents haven’t clamored for an entertainment district. 

They’ve clamored for housing, elder care, child care and employment. They’ve clamored for fully funded schools and solutions to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.  

The Arizona Coyotes’ proposed entertainment district in Tempe addresses only one of those demands – employment – and very partially at that. The City Council should scrap the whole project.

In promotional materials, the hockey team speaks of their $1.7 billion “Manica” district at Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive in alluring terms that portray a luxurious “unique destination” that would create jobs and generate net new taxes. 

They tout taxes but want years of free rides

The Arizona Coyotes' arena and entertainment district is proposed on 46 acres near Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive.

But look a bit closer at their commercial scheme and it turns out not to be that desirable at all for Tempe’s current residents. It would essentially entail giving a proven bad economic actor – the current Coyotes owner – generous tax giveaways and thereby depriving our city of additional funds for the much-needed services mentioned above.  

The embattled NHL team is promising to turn a city-owned, 46-acre site into a “regional landmark” that would include a multipurpose arena (the team’s future home), a music venue, “upscale” retail and office space, more than 1,600 residential units, and “boutique” and “convention” hotels.

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