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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

deadline 1True to form, a deadline in not really a deadline when it comes to the Coyotes saga. Every Coyotes fan, hanger-on or anyone associated  with the Coyotes is waiting anxiously for May 31,2013 as if it is magical. The deadline that everyone is awaiting is the May 31st deadline to respond to the Beacon Sports/City of Glendale RFP. It is arbitrary and irrelevant because it presupposes any and all bidders for the team will submit by that date. That will probably not happen as there may be one or two bidders (or re-bidders) that will not submit to the NHL until May 31st.

The city in an attempt to cover any possible contingency made sure it has an out-clause on page 7 of the RFP, “City reserves the right to amend, cancel or reissue the RFP at its sole discretion. This includes the right to change the Response Due Date and Contract Award Date.”

A scenario could develop whereby a bidder for the team submits after May 31st. If a bid submitted to the NHL after May 31st turns out to be the best bid it will not be influenced by the Beacon RFP deadline and the NHL will be bringing them in tow to meet with whomever in Glendale when they are ready to do so. The NHL certainly hasn’t set an arbitrary deadline of May 31st. Why should it?

Of course, there is the issue of the General Manager’s and Coach’s contracts but unfortunately, they will not be determinants.

approveNo one knows what the bidders’ deals look like except the NHL and no one knows what will be acceptable to it. Maybe the “Shadow knows” (those of you who remember radio shows before TV came along, will recognize the phrase). Without knowledge of the NHL criteria no one knows if there is even a would-be bride out there.

I would think any deal heavily debt-laden with very little equity would make the NHL very, very nervous. No one, least of all the NHL, wants to repeat this ordeal (for that is what it has become) for a very long time. A deal with a lot of debt opens the door for the possibility of a repeat performance.

So we wait. It will happen – or not – when it happens but don’t hang your hat on an arbitrary deadline. It’s like “where’s the pea?” The deadline can be under any of the shells and none of them may be labeled May 31st.


One issue not so far discussed is the issue of Capital Repairs needed for the arena. Keep in mind, my best guesstimate is that there is maybe $200,000 or $300,000 in the Capital Repairs Account. Below I’ve included Newco, LLC’s “wish list” of Additions and Capital Repairs for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2014.

Newco capital repairs

Newco LLC proposed
capital repairs 2014

As you can see, the major issue is “Arena roof work” for $2M. The entire “wish list” comes to $5.6M. The roof is leaking. It needs work. Will it cost $2M? Maybe not. I heard that the city has called in an independent consultant to study the roof and report back (at what cost and this should be considered part of the tab to fix the roof). It may be a choice between a band-aid costing much less and major surgery costing far more.

billsThe point is that in addition to the $6 M a year, a figure to which this current council is wedded, they will have to find additional dollars to repair the arena roof. In addition  to asking the new arena manager to accept a figure of $6M a year blithely mandating that entity to be willing to lose $6M a year, they also want the new arena manager to participate in the cost of capital repairs based on the Beacon RFP.

This is from the Beacon RFP, “Investment. State the amount of a proposed investment in the Arena that the Respondent Manager is willing to provide (Please review the proposed Additions and Capital Repairs Schedule for Fiscal Year ending  June 30, 2014 for further details) [the very same document you see above]. Describe any restrictions/repayment requirements [read loan to be paid back by city] on any such investment. Also describe any additional fees, restrictions or incentives that may apply to any investment.”

How many prospective owners are out there willing to accept an annual $6M management fee knowing that the costs of operating the arena are double that amount? Then ask how many prospective owners will be willing to make a loan to the city to cover all or a partial list of capital repairs?

The time has come for this current council to understand the situation factually. They also need to understand that whether the Coyotes stay or go there is a substantial bill to be paid. Having the Coyotes as an anchor tenant helps the situation not hurt it. It guarantees 40+ nights of activity at Westgate and its attendant sales tax revenues. Surely they realize the significance of that and how much it helps their bottom line. Losing the Coyotes and going it alone on managing the arena, no matter how convinced they are that it will work is a recipe for further financial disaster.


Coyotes logoThe entire Coyotes ownership saga began with the Glendale city council’s decision to accept Steve Ellman’s proposal for a sports and entertainment district that included the construction of an arena for the express purpose of having the Coyotes as its anchor tenant. Their first game was played in the new arena in 2003. The original lease management agreement did not require a payment to the manager of the arena. That concept died with the Moyes’ bankruptcy in 2009. I was part of the drama until January 15, 2013 as a councilmember. I speak for myself and not for any Glendale elected officials, past or present.

homework 1During my 16 year service on Glendale City Council one of my imperatives was to make decisions that were fully informed. As a councilmember one does that by “doing one’s homework.” That means a commitment to read the material you are provided. Ascertain all of the facts of the proposal. Question staff by asking follow up questions on material not always presented. Talk to people in the industry and talk to the stakeholders, i.e., prospective developers and business owners, and last but certainly not least, one’s constituents by informing them of the facts of the proposal and asking for their comment. You take this vast amount of information and process it through a personal sieve. One overriding parameter is to make a decision that you believe to be in the very best interest of your city, economically and socially.

diff people 2Just as all people are different so, too, are all councilmembers different. During my time on council, I have met some councilmembers who were lazy and didn’t bother to do their homework or who became wedded to a position immediately and would not budge and let facts get in the way. I have even observed some who let personal prejudice determine their position. I have also observed councilmembers who did, in fact, do their homework. Their final position may have been different from mine but that was because their personal framework of reference led them in a different direction. No matter, they earned my respect because they were not swayed by personal prejudice or preference.

city hall 2I was first elected in 1992. I think I can be considered as a Councilmember Emeritus. There are very few of us still living much less living in Glendale. In fact, there are less than a dozen. There are former Mayors Renner and Scruggs, Councilmembers Heatwole, Tolby, McAllister (living out-of-state), Eggleston, Frate, Goulette, Lieberman (living out-of state) and myself. Former Councilmember Hugh is serving once again and former Mayor Klass and former Councilmember Huffman are deceased.

mallarrowhead02From that perspective one has to appreciate Glendale’s recent history. Prior to the 1980’s Glendale was an unremarkable town that offered residents a quiet, hometown quality of life. In the early 1990’s we had an opportunity to create the first major economic engine in the city – the Bell Road Corridor to be anchored by Arrowhead Mall.  I was present for the signing of the beam that was used in the construction of Arrowhead Mall, the anchor tenant for the area.   Glendale had its first major economic engine.

Glitters_lightsGlendale’s second major economic engine became its downtown in the mid 1990’s with the advent of its first, annual major festival, Glendale Glitters and its synergy as an antique center in the state. Since then, downtown commercial has diversified. It is still not all that anyone envisions it can be but it continues to make progress. Its major anchor tenant could be considered City Hall, the Civic Center and the investment the city continues to make in hosting major downtown events. Glendale has its second major economic engine.

Courtesy Christopher B.

Courtesy Christopher B.

In the early 2000’s another opportunity for a third major economic engine was created with the relocation of the Coyotes Hockey team and the construction of Jobing.com arena for the team. The national economy was humming and I and the rest of council were planning for Glendale’s future. The city created a new zoning classification, “Sports and Entertainment District” and Westgate was born. Nearly all of the land surrounding the original core of Westgate to date has been approved with the Sports and Entertainment zoning classification and with Westgate’s and the arena’s stability there will be a surge of development. I won’t relate the history of the arena and the team from 2003 to the present for that has been covered in my other postings.

question 4Today uncertainty about Coyotes ownership and the fate of Jobing.com arena still swirls. Many have asked me for my personal assessment. There is the Beacon RFP and how it plays. There is the current crop of prospective owners: Jamison, LeBlanc/Gosbee, Pastor, Hulsizer and Reinsdorf/Kaites. Do not ignore the non-hockey bids to manage the arena: Global Spectrum, AEG and IFG. They cannot be discounted as players. I am not going to comment at this time and when I do it will be through the prism of what I, personally, believe is good for Glendale. There will be plenty of time to dissect the situation after decisions are made. It’s time to let this situation play out. I think the NHL has come to a decision and it would not surprise me to hear the announcement next week. That much is logical. Whomever the NHL has blessed must get a submission together to respond to the Beacon RFP by May 24. The finish line is in view and the winner is…?


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