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Tempe City Council agrees to reserve spot on May 2023 special ballot for Arizona Coyotes entertainment district proposal

The vote will allow residents to decide the fate of the Tempe Entertainment District if the measure is placed on the May 2023 ballot.

TEMPE, Ariz. — In a special meeting Thursday, the Tempe City Council voted to allow residents to decide the fate of the Tempe Entertainment District if the measure is placed on the May 2023 special election ballot.

The Council's unanimous 7-0 vote reserves a spot for the Arizona Coyotes' proposal on the special election to be held on May 16, 2023.

"This is merely about reserving a date for an election," Tempe Mayor Corey Woods said. "I believe it is a good thing to allow residents to vote on the proposal."

The city council must approve a development and disposition agreement, a general plan amendment and a zoning amendment before the May 16 special election can take place.

Those hearings are scheduled for Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 with a vote on the three items expected on Nov. 29. The Council will vote on a development and disposition agreement, a General Plan map amendment and a zone map amendment.

If the Council approves the three items, the Arizona Coyotes will then need to get the required signatures to qualify for the May 2023 ballot. If the measures aren't approved by the Council, the plan will not move forward from there.

Coyotes CEO Xavier Gutierrez was at the special meeting representing the organization and later shared a statement on the Council's decision.

"We want to thank the Tempe City Council for their unanimous 7-0 vote tonight that reserves a May 16, 2023 date that could bring our proposed privately financed new arena and entertainment district project to a public referendum. We would be excited to show Tempe residents that this is the RIGHT PROJECT, this is the RIGHT PRIVATELY FINANCED DEAL, and we are the right OWNERSHIP to make this transformative project a reality." 

RELATED: 'Concerned about this development': Sky Harbor, City of Phoenix clashing with Tempe over entertainment district proposal

What is the Tempe Entertainment District?

The $2.1 billion entertainment district for the Coyotes was first proposed in September 2021.

The development includes a 16,000-seat arena and team practice facility. In the following phases, the site will build hotels, retail, apartments and a theater.

Officials from the Coyotes say the development will bring 6,900 permanent jobs and over 9,000 jobs to the state of Arizona. They believed it will generate close to $125 million in revenue.

The project has already attracted its fair share of supporters and opponents.

The City of Phoenix and airport officials have expressed concerns over building heights and the site's proximity to runways since the project falls under Sky Harbor's flight paths.

The team is currently playing at Arizona State's 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, by far the NHL's smallest arena.

The Coyotes have been searching for a permanent home since the city of Glendale pulled out of a multimillion lease at Gila River Arena. Arizona had been playing on an annual lease until Glendale said it would not be renewed for the 2022-23 season.

RELATED: Runways, apartments and businesses: The very complicated case behind the Coyotes' arena

RELATED: Tempe City Council OKs moving forward in talks on Coyotes arena

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