As the City of Glendale entered the 21st Century the City Council had an opportunity to develop another area other than Arrowhead Mall as an economic engine – that area is now known as Westgate. In 2002, the City Council moved forward with a commitment to build an arena for a NHL Hockey team, the Coyotes. The original agreement between team owners and the city did not include a city management fee. Steve Ellman and Jerry Moyes were owners of the team. Sadly, they promised much and delivered little.
Seven years later, 2009, Mr. Moyes put the team into bankruptcy hoping the National Hockey League (NHL) would approve a sale to Mr. Jim Basille who planned to move the team to Canada. The NHL refused and instead bought the team. This bankruptcy changed the equation for Glendale forever. The cost of arena management, never part of Glendale’s original deal, was thrust upon the city because of the bankruptcy.
Glendale’s arena attracted Cabela’s, and the UofP Stadium. It caused other property owners in the area to seek zoning approval for future commercial/retail development in and around Westgate. It attracted Tanger to place an outlet mall with 85-90 stores in Westgate scheduled to open the day after Thanksgiving 2012.
For the past three years there have been numerous potential owners. Matt Hulzier, a potential owner championed by the Mayor, wanted the city to issue $197 million in bonds as part of his deal. Two new potential buyers emerged: the John Kaites’ Group and Jerry Reinsdorf. These buyers wanted the option of moving in 5 years. None of these potential owners would have benefited the city. And still the city pays the arena management costs. Media coverage of the disagreements about the cost of hiring a management company to run the arena is well documented. I will once again state my position that the $11 million figure bandied about during Council discussion by some has been inaccurate, was pulled out of thin air and has no basis in fact to substantiate it. Allowing the team to leave will hurt Glendale financially. The debt on arena bond construction still must be paid. The Coyotes generate revenue for 42 games and more when, like now, there are playoff games. If they are gone there will be fewer nights when Westgate can produce revenue for the city.
Suddenly there was Greg Jamison. The Jamison Group will benefit Glendale in the long term. Mr. Jamison has a proven track record. He turned the NHL San Jose Sharks into a successful and profitable team. He made the San Jose arena an extremely popular and paying venue. He invested in the community affairs of San Jose. What he did in San Jose he can do in Glendale.
In addition to the 42 plus nights of hockey the Coyotes do contribute to the economic well being of Glendale. They pay a monthly rental fee. There is a ticket surcharge on every ticket sold that goes to Glendale. There is sales tax on everything sold in the Westgate area that is generated from their regular season of 42 nights a year. Additionally during the current playoff extension of activity at the arena both teams, team staff and an entourage of interested fans are generating sales tax by staying at Glendale’s Renaissance Hotel.
Westgate, with the Coyotes, the Cardinals and Cabela’s, is poised to explode with new development. A majority of the zoning in and around Westgate has already been approved. The Super Bowl will be hosted in Glendale in 2015. All of this energy will cause the construction of more new developments in the next few years. In fact, another major development close to Westgate will be announced soon. Please keep checking this website for its announcement.
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