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Westgate businesses not worried about Coyotes' exit

Jarrett McDonald, general manager of Lumberjaxes cited activity centers like Top Golf, Dave and Busters, and the AMC movie theater as things that bring people in.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The people that own and operate businesses at Westgate Entertainment District are not worried about what will happen when the Coyotes leave Gila River Arena in the Spring of 2022.

“We love the Coyotes, but the Coyotes leaving is not going to put us out of business,” said Jarrett McDonald, the general manager of Lumberjaxes, an ax-throwing bar across from Gila River Arena.

McDonald said Coyotes games certainly help bring in more people, especially on a mid-week evening that might not otherwise be busy, but that his business and others around it are far from dependent on the 41 nights a year that the Coyotes have a home game.

RELATED: Glendale decides not to renew Arizona Coyotes agreement beyond 2022

McDonald cited activity centers like Top Golf, Dave and Busters, and the AMC movie theater as examples of other things that bring people to Westgate.

“We do bring in more people now that there’s more things to do at Westgate in addition to restaurants and bars,” McDonald said.

The City of Glendale announced earlier this month that the Coyotes would need to vacate Gila River Arena at the end of the upcoming season. The city plans to try and fill the 41 home dates with other attractions like concerts.

Scott McIntire, the owner of McFadden’s and The Lola, two Westgate bar-restaurants, said relying on athletic events to bring in business is not a solid plan.

“We don’t want to be relying on sports. I think that any business model that relies on a sporting event is not a good business model to have,” McIntire said.

What’s more, McIntire said the pandemic showed him and other business owners that they are not as dependent on the Coyotes and Cardinals as they once thought. McIntire said both of his businesses are doing better in 2021 than in 2019, even with reduced crowds or no crowds at Coyotes and Cardinals games.

“We’re crushing 2019,” McIntire said.

YAM Properties owns and operates Westgate Entertainment District. YAM recently announced that eight new tenants are coming to Westgate, three of which are already open. That announcement came after the City’s decision to cut the Coyotes loose.

The City of Glendale has also broken ground on a new water park and, separately, a theme park, near Westgate.

“Westgate Entertainment District is ‘Entertainment’ for a reason,” McIntire said. “There’s just so many events that YAM and Westgate bring out here. It’s just a whole compete complex of entertainment value.”

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