PACs face off over proposed Coyotes arena district in Tempe

By Arizona Republic

The election campaign to decide the fate of Tempe’s $2.1 billion deal with the Arizona Coyotes has started to get ugly, with two opposing political action committees ― including one financed entirely by the project developer ― teetering on the brink of a legal battle and taking shots at each other’s integrity.

Both PACs formed late last year after the Tempe City Council decided to send the deal to voters during a special election on May 16. They share similar names, but have clashing opinions on the team’s proposal to build 2,000 apartments, an NHL arena and an entertainment district on 46 acres of city-owned land west of Town Lake:

  • Tempe Wins is run by Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo and his development company, Bluebird Development LLC. It seeks to persuade residents to vote ‘yes’ by promising the project will create nearly 7,000 new jobs, $519 million in “financial benefits” for Tempe and $215 million in new tax revenue ― all without eating up any existing public dollars.
  • Tempe 1st is made up of residents, advocates and even former Tempe Councilmember Lauren Kuby, all of whom oppose the deal. They’re against the more than $500 million in tax breaks for the team and question the promised benefits, argue the plan doesn’t advance the city’s goals in areas such as affordable housing, and don’t want to risk Tempe’s “last bulk” of empty city land on a “risky deal.”

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