Mayor calls for joint Suns-Coyotes arena in PHX

Posted at 1:28 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 21:58:53-04

Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton advocated the creation of a shared downtown arena between the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Coyotes during his State of the City address Tuesday.

Stanton said the creation of such an arena must follow two key principles: It must drive new traffic into downtown Phoenix, and it must not trigger a city tax increase.

"Just like our current arena, it will take a public-private partnership," Stanton said. "I will absolutely not raise taxes (to create) a new arena. Any plan for new venues must only use the existing sports facilities fund."

"Building two arenas in our region doesn't make fiscal or common sense," said Stanton.

The Coyotes are looking for a new place to call home, as their existing lease at Gila River Arena in Glendale expires after the 2016-17 season. A joint venue with the Suns has been one of three rumored possibilities.

A shared venue with ASU hockey in Tempe and a venue at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale are the other reported options.

Sources have told ABC15 that an arena in Tempe and Scottsdale are the more likely outcomes, as the Coyotes and Suns have struggled to come to agreeable terms on a joint Phoenix venue.

The Suns have played at what is now Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix since 1992. They shared that arena with the Coyotes from 1996-2003. The Coyotes moved to Glendale during the 2003-04 season.

The Mercury have called Talking Stick Resort Arena home since they began play in 1997.

On Tuesday, Stanton said he has been a Suns fan since the 1970s.

"The team has told me that in the near future, they will begin to look for a new home. It’s essential that we keep our team in downtown Phoenix," he said.

An ABC15 poll last week revealed most fans prefer Phoenix or Tempe for a new Coyotes arena.

On April 11, Coyotes co-owner, president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said the Coyotes hope to make an announcement on a new arena within the next couple of weeks.

"It's fair to say that we outlined to the groups that we've been having discussions with that time is of the essence, and that there is a timeframe that must be adhered to," LeBlanc said. "Everybody we have met with, be it the City of Phoenix, Arizona State or other organizations, have understood that.

"It's a lot of work. It's a lot of time. Just an announcement is one thing; it's probably another 9 to 12 months before shovels are actually in the ground. We want this to happen in a shorter timeframe than a longer one."