The Arizona Coyotes are paving the way for a move to the East Valley after the team showed interest in a Tempe project.
The city of Tempe posted a request for proposals, or RFP, for a project incorporating a professional sports franchise and entertainment district for two parcels of city-owned land totaling 46 acres at the northeast corner of Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway. The deadline is Aug. 19.
The Coyotes and the cities of Tempe and Glendale emailed generic statements, attributed solely to spokespeople, to The Glendale Star.
“Based on the site’s location, the Coyotes are highly interested in this development opportunity and will be responding to the city of Tempe’s request for proposal,” a Coyotes spokesperson said.
“Given our determination to remain in the Valley for many years to come, we are actively working to identify the best long-term home for the Coyotes, our devoted fans and this great community.”
Glendale officials are holding out hope that the NHL team will remain in the city.
“The city of Glendale has been working since last year with the Arizona Coyotes and our arena manager, ASM Global, to determine if terms for a long-term agreement can be reached to allow the Coyotes to continue to play in Gila River Arena. We remain committed to that goal,” the city’s statement read.
“The highly recognized successes of our growing sports and entertainment district provides fans and visitors an immersive experience. The city believes that Gila River Arena is the best location for the future success of the Coyotes.”
Tempe’s statement shared the definition of an RFP.
“Any professional sports franchise or entity partnered with the franchise can respond to the RFP,” it said. “It is open to all qualified organizations, locally and nationally.”
It is customary for municipalities to issue RFPs to get specifics that can be analyzed and evaluated. In this instance, the city determined that these 46 acres of land are underutilized and it desired to open this RFP process.
After the RFP closes, the city will examine and evaluate all responsive proposals. That evaluation will include projected economic impacts, job creation, public benefit, neighborhood impacts, traffic impacts and more. There is no estimated time period for these analyses.
The council accepts or rejects proposals for further work and negotiation.
“It is possible during any RFP process that no respondents are chosen to proceed,” it said. “Any eventual development agreement that results from any RFP must equate to the best deal possible for Tempe residents.
“The city exists to serve our residents and we take seriously our obligation to provide a safe, livable community in a fiscally responsible way. Any development agreement consideration process takes place in public at city council meetings.”
The two city parcels involved in this RFP represent an important area of the city, near Tempe Town Lake and the Tempe Center for the Arts, and adjacent to neighborhoods and employers, the city said.
“These people and places also will be top of mind during evaluations of RFP responses.”