Phoenix council reportedly to vote on $180m in Suns arena subsidies next month, with no public input

“Is Phoenix really going to plunk down $150 million on the Suns arena?” asks the headline on yesterday’s Laurie Roberts column in the Arizona Republic. Betteridge’s Law says no, but Roberts says yeah, maybe:

Several city sources tell me there’s a push on to get the deal done by the end of the year.

Talk of an arena deal has ramped up inside city hall this month — ever since Kate Gallego, the leading candidate for Phoenix mayor, announced she would not support putting city money into a new or improved arena for the Suns

The arena vote is expected to take place in early December — ramming it down the city’s throat before a new mayor is elected.

That would seem like a super-aggressive timetable, especially since only four votes on the council are needed to kill any deal. But though Roberts notes that a public approval process is necessary to build a new arena, city leaders think they can get away without one if they’re just “refurbishing” an old one:

Councilman Sal DiCiccio said he thinks the city can go forward because the voter-approved ordinance says only that public approval is needed before building a new sports facility.

“I believe legally that we can do this,” he said. “The real question is whether or not the intent of the voters was to do that and I don’t know that. I really don’t know.”

Roberts reports that the proposed deal would involve $150 million in city cash up front, plus another $2 million a year for maintenance costs, which would come to a total of about $180 million in present value. The Suns owners would pay $80 million, or less than a third of the cost — though obviously that ratio could change once we learn about any rent payments or tax rebates or naming-rights fees. At least we can hope that all those details will come out during a measured public oversight process … oh wait.

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5 comments on “Phoenix council reportedly to vote on $180m in Suns arena subsidies next month, with no public input

  1. Someone should tell DiCiccio that avoiding prosecution shouldn’t be the standard he is shooting for.

  2. Lousy deal for Phoenix but I do get tired of columnists talking about how all the money is for watching “lousy basketball”. The good thing about NBA/NHL arenas is that they host anywhere from 100 to 250 events a year. The NBA/NHL games are just a small portion of what goes on in the arena.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    Is the stadium grass greener on the other side? The owners of my West London football team Queens Park Rangers would like to build a new stadium in the same neighbourhood as Loftus Road, the club’s home for 101 years in the Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, which has become too cramped, small and arguably outdated. They want to redevelop a disused athletics track (Linford Christie Stadium) owned by the Borough, at c.£200m of their own money, and build a new athletics stadium for the Borough at a cost of about £50m.

    This forum link has further links to the club’s economic impact report, the Borough’s prickly response, and shows whose side the fans are on:

  4. Is there any talk of the Coyotes being part of this refurbished arena, or are they still with out an arena/plan/hope?

    1. The renovation does not include realignment for hockey, so there will be no shared Coyotes/Suns arena.
      The Coyotes are still hoping for a new arena, possibly with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa tribe as their last ditch effort.

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