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Renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena ‘is fiscally responsible,’ public hearing is told

Posted by   /  January 10, 2019  /  No Comments

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The South Phoenix meeting, with approximately 70 in attendance, followed the trend of community support for the deal with 21 speakers with three expressing opposition.


Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents the Phoenix Suns

Community support for project continues 

By Rose Law Group staff

Under the deal proposed to renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena, the city and the Suns would split the cost 50-50, a city official told the fourth community meeting on the project Wednesday night at South Mountain Community Center.

Christine Mackay, Phoenix Community and Economic Director, also explained the 27-year-old building, which is owned by the city, needs to be renovated regardless of whether the Suns remain the anchor tenant with the city as landlord.

The South Phoenix meeting, with approximately 70 people in attendance, followed the trend of community support — out of 21 speakers, just three expressed opposition.

Mackay explained the 1989 tourist tax pays for maintaining and renovating the area, which means taxpayers are not being assessed for the costs unless they stay in Phoenix hotels or rent cars.

The Suns would continue to pay 100 percent of operations and maintenance.

Suns President and CEO Jason Rowley told the gathering the renovations are necessary and “satisfy the needs of the NBA and the promoters and shows.”

Audience comments*

Ken Baker said he came to the meeting undecided but was convinced to support the deal because of the presentation by the Suns and the city.

“I’m for maintenance upgrades [to] keep things going,” Baker said. “In the entertainment industry, the building is something for Phoenix and being able to refurbish it is important. I don’t think there would be an uproar about this if [the facts are known.]”

Steven Molina said, “this is a great deal. The city needs to maintain its assets, and this is a great deal.”

Carl Gentles: “I wish I had the deal where the tenant, my renter, was paying half of my costs.”

One of the residents presented a poll just released by the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and explained that once people understand there is not a new tax and a tax on tourists, they support the plan.

“Renovation is fiscally responsible,” said Kim Gustafson.

Channel Balz, a school board member from the Balz School District, says she is in favor of the deal because there’s “no new tax; it’s coming from the tourism funding.”

Carol Poore from Phoenix Community Alliance: “We support this funding. It’s already a public building; there’s nothing new here. It’s paid for by a tourism tax.”

Mayor Thelda Williams, Councilman Michael Nowakowski and Councilwoman Felicita Mendoza attended the meeting and thanked the residents for taking time out of their evening to attend and learn more.

*Rose Law Group apologizes for any misspelling of names. 

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