Work in Sports
A new den
Voters approve public funding for new rink
Posted: Tuesday November 02, 1999 11:29 PM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Voters on Tuesday approved a plan to use public financing to redevelop a rundown mall to include a new arena for the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.
Under the proposal, an 18,000-seat hockey area will anchor Los Arcos Mall in this Phoenix suburb. The $352 million public share of the project's cost will be recaptured from sales tax revenues when the development is complete.
Fountain Hills, another city that is part of the stadium district created for the arena, also approved the plan.The arena cost represents about one-third of the total $535 million cost of the project. The Ellman Cos. developer and the city, which viewed approval as essential to stabilize a deteriorating neighborhood, came up with the proposal without asking for new taxes.
The Coyotes are the last of Arizona's four major professional franchises to seek public help to build a new arena. They currently play in 16,210-seat America West Arena, where team officials say they are losing up to $10 million a year because the co-tenant Phoenix Suns won't share revenues such as concessions.
City of Phoenix money went into America West, and Maricopa County taxpayers footed most of the bill for the Bank One Ballpark, built for the Arizona Diamondbacks. But when the Arizona Cardinals asked voters in nearby Mesa to help them build a domed stadium as part of an $1.8 billion commercial project six months ago, they were rejected.
Scottsdale residents similarly voted down a plan to create a waterfront cultural complex along a city canal on Sept. 7. That project proposed using a theme-park tax rebate almost identical to the rebate that Ellman was seeking for Los Arcos.
Voters formed a stadium district with taxing authority for the Coyotes arena last May. Tuesday's vote determined whether Ellman and the Coyotes would be allowed to keep 50 percent of the state sales taxes generated at Los Arcos over the next 10 years.
One of Scottsdale's two partners in the stadium district, either Fountain Hills or Guadalupe, also had to approve the agreement. Ellman offered each of the communities $1 million to join without having to share the cost.
Ellman and the Coyotes would put up about $134 million and borrow $401 million to get under way.
Debt service would total another $590 million over the next three decades. Of the final $1.12 billion price tag, about one-third is the public portion ($351.9 million) - none of which would kick in until after the mall reopened.
That figure included $97.5 million in state sales tax and $163 million in city sales tax. Other public monies also figured in.