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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

This blog is for the CEO of every grocery chain operating in Arizona:

  • Aldi
  • Whole Foods
  • Kroger (Frys)
  • Trader Joes
  • Sprouts
  • Albertsons
  • Safeway
  • Bashas
  • Winco Foods

I have been on and off city council since 1992 and to date have served 22 years on Glendale’s City Council as the Yucca District Councilmember. Over the past 22 years a grocery store has never located within the Yucca District. Within the past 5 years a minimum of a dozen multifamily complexes have been constructed or will be completed this year within this geographic area. Each complex has a minimum of 200 units. That’s 2,400 units at 2.3 persons per unit or 5,520 new arrivals in the Yucca district. Add new residential construction of a minimum of another 2,000 units and you can add another 5,000 persons. The residential subdivision of Stonehaven alone will have 1,635 new homes. New construction, both multifamily and single family residential, has added an estimated 10,000 people to the district.

The Yucca District base population before all this new construction is 40,000 persons. In other words, with the addition of the new residential, this district has a population of 50,000 persons with no place to do our weekly grocery shopping. There is a Super Walmart within the district, but a majority of the residents don’t use it. Instead, we are forced to use the closest Safeway in Phoenix or the closest Fry’s in Peoria, both of which are in neighboring cities, some miles away. A typical resident spends between $200 and $300 a week for food and household items.

The most common request I receive from Yucca district residents is for that of a traditional grocery store. Any grocery store that does a one-mile or five-mile demographic study will discover that there are sufficient rooftops and sufficient income to support a grocery store in this area.

I am personally sending this blog to every CEO with a request to do demographic research of this area. You will find that it not only meets your criteria but exceeds it. Better yet, I encourage you to contact Glendale’s Economic Development Department’s Director, Brian Friedman (623-930-2984; bfriedman@glendaleaz.com) or the Department’s Assistant Director, Jessi Pederson (623-930-2996; jpederson@glendaleaz.com) . They can provide the economic data that you seek. This is a community that wants you and will patronize you regularly.

I know my district and I know my residents. This is a community that not only wants you but needs you. I suspect that were you to locate in the Yucca District, your revenue projections will be greater than your best financial forecast. Please consider locating in the Yucca District. You won’t be disappointed.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I’ve wanted to write this blog for several weeks but as city council work becomes more complex and time consuming, it leaves very little time for writing.

There were a flurry of press releases issued several weeks ago as well as discussion about the development at Tuesday’s, April 26th City Council workshop meeting. In case you missed it, here is what is happening to Crystal Lagoon.

The location of the development is at the southwest corner of 95th Avenue and Cardinals Way. It is just south of the State Farm Stadium. When the project was first announced and approved by council in June of 2020, as Crystal Lagoons Island Resort a 600-room hotel was envisioned with a lake area with white sand beaches, office, and retail space, a 100’ tall Aero Bar and a 400’ tethered balloon and a Mattel Amusement Park.

Two of the principles, Glen Bilbo, and Tommy Fisher, were involved in the project from the beginning. Tommy Fisher, a long-time resident in the Valley, has now taken over the entire project. Mr. Fisher is well respected in the development community.

Mr. Fisher and his son, Grant, reevaluated the project concept and in fact, have reimagined and upgraded it. The project is now called VAI and the VAI hotel has grown from the original concept of 600 rooms to 1200 rooms, making it the largest resort hotel in the state. I asked Mr. Fisher if their intent is to develop a 5-star hotel and he affirmed it that it is.

In essence, the office space and a substantial portion of the retail has been removed to make way for the larger hotel. There will be the main hotel and in essence, two annexes. All will look the same and offer the same level of service. There will be about 13 upscale restaurants on site as well as a “knock your socks off” wedding chapel. There will also be meeting and convention space.

The major emphasis will be on presenting live, musical events with plans for more than 100 events each year with well-known performing artists. Those who book rooms will be able to see the live concerts from the hotel where they will be performed on an island that faces the hotel. The live musical theater on the island will be able to rotate 360 degrees.

VAI Resort Hotel

One interesting feature will be a tunnel system able to accommodate service carts that will be used by employees to get from one structure to another. There will be some parking on site in the form of a parking garage for hotel visitors and overflow parking will be available on the city’s black lot on the east side of 95th Avenue.

The Aero Bar and tethered balloon concepts remain as does the Mattel Amusement Park under the management of Glen Bilbo. The Amusement Park, however, has nearly doubled in size.

All of the changes have affected the timeline for the project. The goal was to have the hotel open in time for the Super Bowl but with its expansion, the more realistic timeline has the hotel opening sometime between March and May of next year.

In summary the VAI Resort will include:

  • A 7-acre water way with sandy white beaches.
  • A 52,000-square foot man-made island.
  • A 360-degree, rotating concert stage.
  • More than 1,200 hotel rooms.
  • 170 stage-facing hotel rooms.
  • A 20,000-square foot spa and wellness center.
  • A wedding chapel.
  • A massive helium balloon that will take visitors nearly 400 feet into the air for an aerial view of the Phoenix area.
  • Aerophile’s Aerobar, a space that will offer food and drinks at 130 feet in the air, giving customers a high-up view of the Valley.
  • A 4D theater and a “fly theater,” similar to the “Soarin’ Around the World” ride in Disney’s California Adventure theme park.
  • Luxury retail shops.

In essence, many of the original deck chair concepts are still there. They have just been rearranged. The original principals involved in the project are still there as well. Their areas of responsibility have been rearranged too.

Make no mistake. This is an ungraded development that will still market itself to families to attend the Mattel Amusement Park but now it has branded itself beyond that concept. The live musical entertainment 100 days a year at a 5-star resort offering unique restaurant and retail concepts has taken the development to a whole new level.

This development enhances the Westgate area as it offers yet another recreational opportunity for Glendale’s premier experiential retail site. Music, sports and entertainment…the Westgate area has it all. There is no other area in the state quite like the Westgate area.

I continue to say that this is the most impactful project not just for Glendale, the state or the southwest but internationally. International visitors will be eager to enjoy a new destination/entertainment experience that offers something for everyone. As the development’s greatest cheerleader, I am eagerly awaiting its opening as well as everyone’s reaction to this blockbuster project.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On March 29, 2022, I had the distinct pleasure of a site tour hosted by the gentleman responsible for the entire project, Tommy Fisher. He is responsible for all construction as well as securing the funding. On a previous visit I had the pleasure of meeting his son, Grant Fisher, and John Keenan. Grant is responsible for everything else having to do with the project and John is Chief Marketing Director. I also met the gentleman in charge of all the electrical work and the gentleman responsible for furnishing the entire complex including each hotel suite. All of these people are an amazing team.

When you use the live, remote camera for the site: https://app.truelook.cloud/dashboard/553/923/live?code=15hm7ev0xey9jmgpfyf2jd9e0&fbclid=IwAR2VhkoN56nBnnmqMouCzAWFM9BHxtvSmNlj83REtd_D2fuA3g9vdeZ-SAY  one gets a rather static view because the camera is pointed in one direction and does not move.

Hotel construction

On this visit I was able to view the entire site and took some photos. The main hotel and its two satellite hotels comprising nearly 1,000 rooms, will all have the same feel and the same features and furnishings. So if a guest is in the main hotel or one of the two satellites, the experience and ambiance will be identical. From the seventh floor you can look in any direction and see incredible views of mountains in the distance. Looking east, you can see the downtown Phoenix skyline and Camelback Mountain.

Looking south 

 

The hotels are well underway, and the southeast wing of the main hotel is in the lead and has had the most work done with electrical and plumbing now being constructed in each suite.

I learned about the red cabling added to a floor before the concrete pour and learned that this is

Flexible strengtheners under concrete flooring

a flexible strengthening element for each floor. I also learned that the main hotel is actually 3 separate buildings although that will not be discernable when construction is complete. The reasoning is that if there ever should be a failure of some sort in one of the three, it will not affect the other two.

Concrete batch plant

Did you know that the project has its own concrete batch making facility? Because of the extensive use of concrete, it became more cost effective to provide their own concrete on the site and cuts the time delay of waiting for multiple deliveries per day.

The last feature that will be constructed is the water feature. That’s understandable when you realize that every element of the site is being used by construction vehicles or for storage of construction materials.

Right now, there are about 1,000 construction workers on the site. If you view the on-site camera, it doesn’t seem so but most of them are working within the interiors of the buildings. When fully built out, this complex will employ about 2,000 people. These statistics should give you some idea of the size of this project. It is complex and vast in scope. Just imagine building a small village in a year.

Ramp to one of the underground parking areas

I also learned that the entire project will have a tunnel system beneath it for employees and service workers to get from one place to another, large enough to accommodate service vehicles. There is also underground parking on site for hotel visitors. Single daytime or nighttime visitors will be able to park in the city’s “black parking lot” directly east across 95th Avenue.

They are also working on a possible gondola system, cooperatively run by this project and the major stakeholders in Westgate and Zanjero…perhaps with a connection to the Desert Diamond Casino. This concept has not been solidified yet and all parties are in the talking stage. Imagine being able to be transported by a skyway gondola from Crystal Lagoon to Tanger Outlets to the Gila River Arena, the State Farm Stadium or over to the casino. Amazing if it becomes a reality and somehow or another, I bet that it does.

Just imagine a ‘stay-cation’ for several days or a week. You can use the water by day, shop and dine at exclusive retailers and restaurants or take your children to the Mattel Amusement area and that night from your suite view a headline musical performance at the theater island facing the hotel. You might attend an NFL game or play the slots at the Desert Diamond Casino. There will certainly be a variety of ways to spend several days recreating, dining, or enjoying a variety of entertainment venues.

I do have breaking news. On April 12th, Tommy Fisher and his team will be making a major announcement about this project. I know about it but if I told you now, they would shoot me.  It will be exciting news and I will share the good news as soon as I am able to do so.

As I have said repeatedly, this will be the most impactful experiential retail and entertainment destination not just for Glendale and the State of Arizona but for the entire southwest region of the country. I expect we will see visitors not just from other parts of this country but visitors from all over the world. This project solidifies Glendale as a premier vacation destination as it is unique in so many ways.

I am excited to be the Councilmember representing this area, the Yucca District, and to welcome Crystal Lagoon Island Resort and I think you will as well once you see and experience the site when completed. I know this sounds trite…but it’s gonna knock your socks off!

Stay tuned for Mr. Fisher’s announcement in about 2 weeks sharing his exciting news about this truly unique project. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

The good news for Glendale just keeps coming and I wanted to share the news with you. On Friday, March 18th, the Mayor, I and city councilmembers welcomed Senator Mark Kelly to our Oasis Water Treatment Plant to recognize and thank him for his successes in acquiring federal funding for Glendale-specific projects. He lobbied and secured $2 million in federal funding for the city’s water interconnect project which will provide water from Peoria and Phoenix should there be an emergency and we have to shut down the Pyramid Peak Water Treatment Plant.

Senator Kelly was also successful in securing $710,000 in federal funding to replace Glendale’s 20+ years old, public safety mobile command center. Thank you, Senator Kelly. Each of these is a critical project for Glendale and we are pleased that each of these projects can now be realized.

Two more blockbuster developments are coming to Glendale’s “New Frontier” in the area of the Loop 303. On March 9th, Nestle announced that it would invest $675 million to build a manufacturing facility expected to open in 2024. It will create over 350 jobs, primarily for Glendale residents, with salaries that begin at $60,000 using professional staff, production and manufacturing leaders, technical staff, engineers and more.

Today, March 23rd, Williams-Sonoma, the world’s largest digital-first, design-led and sustainable home furnishings retailer announced it has leased 1.25 million SF facility to be developed as manufacturing at The Cubes in Glendale. This facility is also in the “New Frontier.” It is expected to open in the fall of 2022 and will create over 2,400 jobs by 2027 at an average salary of $50,000.

All of this once again, signals Glendale’s tremendous growth and showcases our ideal location for national and international businesses. Think about some of the facilities that are already in Glendale with Red Bull, White Claw and Rausch in the “New Frontier.” Add the soon-to-be-open Crystal Lagoon Island Resort, Pop Stroke and Chicken ‘n’ Pickle joining the Gila River Arena, State Farm Stadium and Camelback Ranch in the Westgate/Zanjero area. Next year Glendale will host the Super Bowl followed by the NCAA Final Four. Then add national companies, such as Humana and Bechtel to our lineup. The recent locates of several luxury car dealerships, such as BMW and the Tesla Service Center are part of Glendale’s line up. Last, but certainly not the least, Glendale is the proud home of Luke Air Force base, a training center for the F-35 fighter jet.

Nearly 4,000 residential units, both single family and multifamily, will be completed this year or next adding over 13,000 new residents in the Yucca district alone. All of Glendale’s districts – Cholla, Sahuaro, Barrell, Cactus and Ocotillo – are welcoming new developments as well.

If you are not impressed, you should be. Glendale has come of age with the impressive Bell Road Corridor of retail as well as the equally impressive Westgate/Zanjero entertainment and retail district and the explosion of manufacturing and distribution development in the “New Frontier” at the Loop 303. Cities, to remain healthy, must grow or they die. Glendale has no intention of dying.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Glendale’s future looks very bright but there is one storm cloud on its short-term horizon and that is the near-term threat of another national recession. I would hope that the city is not forced to repeat what it did the last time and that was to defer maintenance of the city’s infrastructure.

However, my vision is not one of doom and gloom but rather building upon successes already achieved. I will “crystal ball” various components within the city from my lens as a sitting councilmember in Glendale for over 20 years. In that time, I’ve participated in the good, the bad and the ugly. I would remind you that this is my vision and just because I am visioning, it does not mean that any of my vision will become reality. I welcome readers’ comments including your vision for a Glendale of the future.

Economic Development. It should be acknowledged that most of, perhaps more than 85% of all the recent economic development successes have occurred in the Yucca district. I anticipate that trend to continue. While there are very few meaningful vacant parcels in Glendale’s other districts, there remains plenty of vacant land left for job development, especially in the western portion of the Yucca district.

All cities must continually seek the Holy Grail of economic development, or they will stagnate and eventually die. Since Arizona is a low property tax state, cities rely upon other forms of taxation and most critically, sales tax. That is why economic development is so important to any city.

There are 6 major economic nodes in Glendale – 1. Arrowhead Mall and Bell Road Corridor, 2. Downtown Glendale and 3. Westgate/Zanjero area; and I would argue 4. the Airport area, 5. the Loop 303 area, commonly referred to as the “New Frontier,” and 6. the Ballpark area.  Let’s look at my expectations for each area.

Arrowhead. I expect the Arrowhead Mall and the Bell Road corridor to continue to thrive. Despite rapidly growing use of the Internet for consumer purchasing, people still like to touch, see, and feel the products they buy. The owners of Arrowhead Mall have done an excellent job of keeping the Mall up-to-date and to refreshing its look and product offering continually. My vision is Arrowhead and the surrounding area will thrive for years to come.

Downtown. My vision is to see the Downtown area adopt some major changes or die. The city can only do so much to prop up this area and has made a major commitment with its intent to refresh the City Hall Complex which includes its Amphitheater. This area needs two components to survive and flourish. One is an entertainment destination. The current buzzword is ‘experiential retail’. People expect not just to shop but expect an opportunity to be entertained in some form or fashion. An entertainment destination for the Downtown should be a movie theater, performing arts theater, museum, or art gallery—a facility that draws people downtown, every day, 365 days a year. Look at Phoenix. It was not by whim that it located a science museum and a history museum in its downtown.

Our Downtown also needs a mass of new residents. This will happen. All it takes is one apartment complex developer to locate Downtown and others will follow. A vibrant downtown needs people to live, work and play within it.

The other missing component essential to a vibrant downtown is the creation of a Downtown Merchants Association that becomes the only legitimate voice and a catalyst for Downtown Glendale. Downtown Glendale is split between two opposing groups – those who will not embrace any change to Downtown and those who embrace the need for change. Until those two factions unite into one, viable Downtown Merchants Association that requires ‘skin in the game’ in the form of annual dues as well as a commitment by its members to be open on a regular basis, stagnation will continue. How long can stagnation exist before the common body dies? I suspect for a few more years. Time is running out for Downtown Glendale. While the city adds Café Lighting and refreshes its Amphitheater, it does not and cannot solve its deep-seated problems and only prolongs the agony.

Westgate/Zanjero area. This area continues to exceed all expectations. As I say repeatedly, the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort, once opened, will change the character of the area forever. It is a powerhouse development project that will draw visitors from all over the world. My vision for the area is to see development continued on all parking lot space and parking to be contained to several large parking garages. The space is simply too valuable to continue to be used for parking and that includes the city owned ‘Black Parking Lot’. My vision also includes the city’s sale of the Gila River Arena to an experienced entity committed to creating profitability by booking events nearly every day of the year. If, someday, the arena is sold, my vision would be to use the proceeds to finance construction of Heroes Park Recreation and Aquatic Center and to finance the construction of a museum in Downtown Glendale. My vision would be to create a partnership with the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian has rotating exhibits that are placed throughout the country. One of my fondest experiences while attending college in Baltimore was to go to D.C. and spend a day at the Smithsonian. It has so many wonderful exhibits and it would take someone a month or better to visit everyone on a daily basis.

Loop 303 area. Development of this area as a job corridor is booming. I expect its growth to continue for a few more years until nearly all developable land is consumed. To meet the employment demand that this area generates it is my vision that the city focus on retraining and reeducation of our work force by partnering with our educational institutions to create nodes of work force training in key locations throughout the city. My vision also includes partnerships with education to create more STEM centers throughout the city.

Airport area. This area to-date has been underutilized and underappreciated. My vision is to see the land on the east side of the airport developed as a major airpark in the next few years. The runways should be elongated to their maximum extent possible to attract more corporate jet traffic. My vision also includes developing a connection over the Agua Fria River so that there is connectivity between the Westgate area and the Airport.

Ballpark area. This area is on the cusp of an explosion of new development. Since Ballpark Boulevard was constructed the connection between the Westgate/Zanjero area and this area has been enhanced. There are several hundred acres of prime, vacant land to be developed. My vision is to see a limited amount of residential apartment development to create some mass in the area but also to see more retail/commercial development in the area. And yes, another hotel would be a welcome addition to the area. My vision is to see strong interconnectivity between the Westgate/Zanjero area, the Airport area and the Ballpark area. When that occurs Glendale will ensure its economic prosperity and vitality for years to come.

There are some parts of my vision that don’t fit neatly into the above cited economic boxes but should be part of not just my vision but that of the city vision. One of these is to address low socio-economic, minority neighborhoods. A city is only as great as its marginalized neighborhoods. If we continue to ignore them, they will spread and destabilize other parts of our great city. Right now, there is a continual circle in these neighborhoods. Because they are already marginalized, we continue to allow non-profit organizations, in the name of doing good and serving their client populations, to plant more services in these neighborhoods. As more non-profits locate in an area, the more likely even more poor and minority populations locate there. It’s time to break this vicious cycle. Non-profits and low-income housing must be dispersed throughout the city. There are all kinds of good, sound reasons to do so that I will not elaborate upon at this time.

Another vision that doesn’t fit neatly into a box is that of art and culture within our city. These elements reflect who we are and what we value at any given point in time. Glendale has historically lacked the commitment to value art. My vision is to emphasize visual art throughout the city. It isn’t just a mural on the side of a building in Downtown or an historically themed statue placed in front of a city building. It’s a commitment by the city to encourage the use of art not just at a newly constructed building but the encouragement, even if it means financially, of older buildings to adopt art as an element of their public face. My vision is to see the use of art liberally throughout the city on both public and private property.

My vision also includes greater appreciation of the various ethnicities and cultures that historically birthed Glendale – Russians, Asians, Hispanic and yes, Caucasians. I would like to see an annual festival that celebrates the history, the food, the music of all these groups who came together to envision our community.

I am sure I left something out and I expect you, the reader, will tell me. The bottom line is that we all want the same things – a clean Glendale everywhere within it, a safe Glendale everywhere within it, a Glendale with employment opportunities within it for you, a Glendale that offers superior services to all its residents, a Glendale that offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities, a beautiful Glendale and a Glendale that values and recognizes its past. We may have differing visions on how to get there.

We’re not there yet but maybe that’s a good thing. It offers us an opportunity to dream, to act and to strive to make Glendale even better.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I haven’t written for awhile simply because being a Glendale City councilmember is more complicated and busier than ever. It takes a minimum of 3 hours and often days to write, edit and publish one blog.  I miss writing and I need to make a concerted effort to carve out the time to do so. Be that as it may, there are many events of which to make note.  Most are not enough for a full blog on their own but should be recognized.

Arguably, the most important recent event is the Grand Opening of Heroes Regional Park Lake. While the celebration was occurring, people were already catching fish. About 100 residents came to the ceremony and many expressed their gratitude to see this wonderful addition to the park. Next up will be to get some sports fields constructed followed by the biggest, most expensive ticket item, the Recreation & Aquatics Center.

Inflation is killing all of us, including cities. Yesterday I filled up my car to the tune of $56. Before Biden that same tank of gas cost me about $25 or $30. My weekly grocery bill has increased by about 40%. Then there are supply chain issues. My local Safeway has had bare shelves, especially in the pasta and chicken sections. They haven’t had any chicken for the past 10 days.

This situation is rough on people on a fixed income, like me and obviously on the poor. From what we all hear it will continue throughout 2022 and we can expect prices to go even higher. The same holds true for cities. For instance, Glendale uses a lot of chemicals to treat its water supply. Those same chemical prices have risen about 30%. This same scenario goes for everything from copy paper, cleaning supplies to vehicle parts and maintenance. While Glendale is earning more revenue than ever before it is paying higher prices than ever before.

Development in the Loop 303 area continues to boom. Several new projects have been announced and there continues to be more in the pipeline. The industry has recognized that Glendale’s “New Frontier” is an established job corridor in the Valley.

Westgate continues to thrive with new development as well. After some internal delays on the part of the developer, Tiger Woods’ Pop Stoke will begin construction any day and is slated to be completed this fall. To the east of the AMC theater, a pickle ball complex complete with a restaurant and bar and rental facilities, ala Top Golf, is slated to start construction in the near future and is expected to be open prior to the Super Bowl. The Thirsty Lion, a 2-story restaurant and bar, situated between the arena and the Renaissance Hotel, is about to start construction as well. A new concept restaurant, exclusively serving some of the most decadent desserts you can possibly imagine, will take the place of the Saddle Ranch Chop House.

Let’s not forget the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort development. I continue to believe it is the most significant development ever to occur within Glendale. It is a mini-Disneyland without the $100+ a day charge per person to enter. Expect about 12 million visitors a year. It will contribute nearly $10M a year in sales tax revenue to Glendale. I expect it to draw visitors not just from the state or the southwest but nationally and even internationally. It’s a Saturday and I just checked their live camera. Earth moving equipment is busy today and the large crane was in use. If you would like to check it out, use this site: https://app.truelook.cloud/dashboard/553/923/live?code=15hm7ev0xey9jmgpfyf2jd9e0&fbclid=IwAR2VhkoN56nBnnmqMouCzAWFM9BHxtvSmNlj83REtd_D2fuA3g9vdeZ-SAY

One of the city services most loved by residents is sanitation. Recently our City Manager related that 44% of the sanitation drivers were out with Covid. Sanitation division managers and employees from other departments stepped up to fill the void resulting in no disruption in your service. Your trash was collected as usual and I bet you had no idea that Covid was crippling the department’s ability to service you. Yet I recently read that the same kind of situation occurred in Tempe resulting in a disruption of pick-up service for about a week. Two cities, two different ways to handle the problem.

At our next council voting meeting I will vote to approve a rate increase in sanitation. Sanitation is run by Michelle Woytenko, Director of Field Operations. Ms. Woytenko is one of the best Directors in the city of Glendale. She is no nonsense and provides excellent information and service to every resident. Our office has contacted her to report a citizen’s trash pick-up being missed and Ms. Woytenko will have someone picking it up the same day. Her explanation for a rate increase was logical and persuasive.

Speaking of money, in February the city council begins its annual budget oversight and preparation for the next fiscal year. We will begin with the Capital Improvement Program. This is the portion of the budget that lays out what infrastructure the city will build, rehabilitate, improve, or maintain for the next 5 years. It is one of the most important segments of the city budgetary process.

The city has completed its redistricting process and submitted its plan to the state and the feds for final approval. As of now, unless something dramatic occurs, the new city council boundaries are set not only for the next election in November of 2022 but for the next ten years until the next census.

There has been minimal accommodation for the tremendous growth occurring in the Yucca district. Instead of creating all districts with a population of about 41,000 the Yucca district will start with a population of 39,000. However, I contended that the accommodation is insufficient. I anticipate an additional 14,000 moving into the Yucca district in the next few years. I anticipate a population in the Yucca district of about 55,000. The Yucca district is the ‘gorilla’ of Glendale’s districts. It is the largest geographically; it accounts for about 80% of all recent and current economic development within the city; and will soon have the greatest population of all the districts. Much of the new population can be attributed to Stonehaven, a residential development between Camelback and Bethany, 83rd to 91st Avenues. At build-out it will contain 1,365 new homes. Another factor is the multitude of apartment complexes in the Westgate area. Westgate needs a mass of people living there to support all its retail and restaurants.

The eastern boundary between the Yucca and Ocotillo districts has changed. From Northern Avenue to Orangewood Avenue the boundary is 75th Avenue. The east side of 75th is in the Ocotillo District and the west side is in the Yucca district. At Orangewood Ave to Glendale Avenue the boundary is 71st Avenue. From Glendale Avenue to Bethany Home Road the boundary is 75th Avenue. Note that Independence Heights subdivision is now in the Ocotillo district. From Bethany Home Road to Camelback Road the boundary is 67th Avenue. Here is a map that shows the dividing lines between the Yucca district and the Ocotillo district:

Council is moving forward on remodeling the City Hall complex. It demonstrates our commitment to downtown Glendale. The exterior look of the buildings will be updated. The parking garage, long in need of major repairs, will be rehabilitated. The concept of offering free, live entertainment year round at the city amphitheater will continue in a newly reconfigured and updated area. Murphy Park will receive an update as well.

You may have noticed that I am the only councilmember to consistently vote ‘no’ on the city’s awarding of 5-year contracts to vendors of services and supplies. I do so for several reasons. A 5-year contract is longer than a city council term of office which is 4 years. That results in no continuity of oversight by the council. If a new councilmember comes in there is no knowledge of the existing contract or its terms or pricing. In addition, the contracts are often for ordinary goods or services and 5-year contracts for those items do not create a competitive atmosphere. Some say a 5-year contract is good because it locks in prices for 5 years even during inflationary periods such as now. Not so, quite a few contracts have come before us lately as amended seeking our approval for an increase. In all cases, the vendors are asking for increases to cover inflationary costs. So a 5-year contract does not lock in prices during the term of the contract. In addition, the same vendor who asked for a price increase, if prices decline, never, ever, comes back to offer the city an adjusted lower cost to reflect that decline. It’s all one way and always higher. I believe contracts should be no longer than 3 years and then put out for bid again.

Lastly, a few thoughts about the city owned Gila River Arena and the Coyotes. The city was not bluffing or positioning itself for a better lease deal with the Coyotes when it terminated the lease agreement. The city council has approved a contract with HKO to rehabilitate the arena. Deliberately moving from a sports venue to an entertainment venue requires a venue that is comfortable and welcoming to its attendees. After years of flaky ownership – Ellman, Moyes, LeBlanc, Barroway, etc., a consistently losing team and financial difficulties, it’s fair to say enough is enough. We wish the Coyotes well and harbor no ill will. It’s up to the Tempe city council to decide if they can do better. I would simply ask them to consider these questions: Does each member of the council believe there is a bond of trust between themselves and the current ownership group? Has Tempe’s staff done its due diligence, and can it demonstrate that the ownership group has the finances to invest into such a project? Will the ownership want financial contributions from the city of Tempe and does the city have the bond capacity for such a project? In an election year how will Tempe residents react to any deal that requires the city to spend taxpayer dollars for another sports arena in the Valley?

This new year will be interesting to say the least. Glendale is in the strongest financial position it has had for years. We will weather this inflationary period and come out on the other side, stronger and more resilient. We have the funds to expend on one-time projects that will benefit our citizens and create a better, more vibrant Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Glendale has become a growth leader in the metro area over the past 5 to 7 years. The most startling fact to share is this – “ According to Colliers, there are 19.2 million square feet of space currently under construction throughout the region, with almost 40 percent of that in Glendale.” No other city in the Valley has experienced this kind of growth. This is remarkable. I credit our City Manager, Kevin Phelps, and our city’s Economic Development Department.

For those of you who are not ‘fact nerds,’ this blog may be boring but Glendale’s remarkable transformation since 2014 is worth noting.

In 2014, the city’s bond rating dropped to BBB. In 2020, the city’s bond rating is now AA. This rating is extremely important because this rating results in lower interest rates when the city borrows money. The amount of bond debt per person in Glendale has dropped from a high of $771 to $384 today.

City Council created a policy deliberately concentrating on employment growth in the Loop 303 Corridor dubbed the “New Frontier.” Even though residential growth was not a prime objective, since the last census, Glendale’s population has grown by 21,000 new residents with more than half of that growth occurring since 2015 and its total population is now over 250,000 people. Between 2016 and 2021, 4,880 new housing units both multi-family and single family, have been constructed. There has been a concerted effort to concentrate multi-family in the Westgate/Zanjero area to sustain and support this major economic center.

Glendale is one of the 5 top Valley cities having a jobs per capita ratio today of 0.40 and it is expected to continue to increase. Over 118,000 residents are employed with 21% of its residents working in Glendale. Most of our residents, about 57% work in Phoenix. On the other hand, about 30% of Glendale’s workforce lives in Glendale with about 25% of Glendale’s workforce living in Phoenix and about 15% living in Peoria.

All this new economic growth has increased General Fund revenues from $174M in Fiscal Year 2010 to $241M in Fiscal Year 2020. In Fiscal Year 2021, the city council approved Glendale’s first billion dollar total budget. The General Fund is used to finance the day-to-day operations of the city and includes all employee compensation. Planning and Permitting revenues saw a dramatic jump from $4.5M in Fiscal Year 2018 to $37M in Fiscal Year 2021. This is primarily due to all the new Loop 303 development. This revenue is one-time money that can and has been used for catching up on improving Glendale’s amenities.

Let’s not forget the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort, Glendale, development. I’m not sure it is appreciated just exactly how much impact this single project will have on Glendale, the Valley and the State. Click on this link if you would like to see the live feed of ongoing construction at the site: https://app.truelook.cloud/dashboard/553/923/live?code=15hm7ev0xey9jmgpfyf2jd9e0&fbclid=IwAR2VhkoN56nBnnmqMouCzAWFM9BHxtvSmNlj83REtd_D2fuA3g9vdeZ-SAY

With the 3 hotels, the public water feature, 5 nodes of retail/restaurant and the Mattel family amusement center, this project is a game changer for Glendale. Expect about 5,000 visitors a day with an annual attendance of about 12 million. It is expected to generate about $10M a year in sales tax revenue for Glendale. It is the owners’ intent to be open prior to the Glendale hosted Super Bowl in 2023. With the exposure surrounding the Super Bowl, expect visitors not just from the Valley or State but nationwide, even internationally. It will become one of THE places at which to have a family vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the remodeling of the city owned Gila River Arena focusing on the customer experience at a major concert venue, set to occur next year (2022), again, in time for the Super Bowl, expect attendance spill over from the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort. Just imagine a family vacation for several days with all that the Lagoon offers plus attending a concert at Gila River Arena and all the offerings at Westgate/Zanjero. It makes for a great family vacation package.

 

 

 

What do all the numbers and facts and figures mean? It means Glendale is not just financially healthy but is about to become the gorilla of the Valley. Hear Glendale roar!

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In parts I and II we looked at the proposed Coyotes project and its funding as well as the stipulations that would be imposed by the FAA. In this part we look at the major hurdles to be overcome.

The first challenge for the Coyotes’ proposed development is that of the mechanism for the repayment of the 30-year, $200 million worth of bonds through a Community Facilities District (CFD) and Government Property Excise Lease Tax (GPLET) Both of these mechanisms are legitimate and have been used by cities throughout the Valley. The Coyotes have said the bulk of the repayment relies upon sales tax generated on the site. In the city’s negotiations with the Coyotes, just one of the issues to be resolved will be who pays any outstanding balance of the annual repayment of principal and interest on the bonds if the sales tax fails to generate the full annual amount needed. Will Muerelo cover it or will he expect Tempe to cover it?

The second challenge, and a major one at that, is the question of Tempe’s taxpayers’ support of the sales tax generated to be used to pay off bonds designed to support another sports venue in the Valley. The assumption by many is that Tempe taxpayers would rather see this development’s sales tax used for city uses that can be enjoyed the general public.

Data Orbital conducted a statewide poll on August 30-31, 2021. Here is the link to their findings: https://www.dataorbital.com/the-blog/taxpayers-icy-at-thought-of-paying-for-a-new-arizona-coyotes-arena . The results summarized are:

  • Voters support for funding a new Coyotes arena

No  47.7% / Yes  39.0% / Undecided  12.7%                                                                  

  • Voters support for using Covid relief funds for a new arena

Democrat:   No  84.4% / Yes  12.3%    Republican:  No   80.2% / Yes  17.0%    Independent:  No  79.0% / Yes  16.1%                                                                  

  • Voters support for elected officials who use taxpayer money for a new arena

Less likely to support  60.4% / More likely to support  29.1% / Undecided  9.6%

I happened to talk to a zoning development professional recently. This person held a meeting in Tempe to gauge neighborhood support on a project that had nothing to do with a new Coyotes arena. Even though the development had no connection to or relationship to the proposed arena, all the Tempe citizens wanted to talk about was their opposition to a new Coyotes arena. Admittedly, this is anecdotal, but it may very well express the level of support among Tempe residents.

The third major challenge is the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) specific height limitations for the site as well as the city of Phoenix’s objection to the proposed residential apartment complexes planned to be built directly in the path of Sky Harbor’s runways. Historically, the FAA’s height limitation drove a proposed Cardinals’ stadium to seek another location. Could the same be true for the Coyotes?

If the Coyotes accede to the FAA’s requirements as well as Phoenix’s prohibition on residential for the site that would require the project to be redesigned as well as scaled back considerably. Does it continue to pencil out in terms of repayment of the $200 million in bonds? Keep in mind that the Coyotes said they anticipate the “bulk” of the bond repayment would rely upon sales tax. Tempe should take a very close look at this issue.

The fourth challenge is if Tempe decides to award this RFP to the Coyotes the arena probably won’t be ready until 2024 or 2025. In the meantime, where will they play? Obviously, it won’t be in Glendale. There has been a lot of speculation about using Phoenix’s Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.

There is no way that Phoenix can craft an exclusive deal with the Coyotes. Keep in mind that this is a taxpayer funded, public facility. If I remember correctly, the state also has a financial stake in the coliseum. As such Phoenix would have to issue an RFP for the coliseum just as Tempe did for its vacant site. Rather than receiving only one response to its RFP as occurred in Tempe, expect multiple responses for the coliseum.

It would take time to do a thorough review of all responses before an award could be made. Could all of this be done by next season? Your guess is as good as mine but as the clock keeps ticking, it seems unlikely.  In addition, the coliseum would require major renovation plus chillers to make ice. All of the renovative work takes time and money. The best guess currently is that it would take about $40 or $50 million to renovate and at least 6 to 8 months to do so after any award is made. Add that to the Coyotes’ announced investment of $1.2 billion for its proposed development in Tempe.

So far, there has been no RFP issued for the coliseum.

 

 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In part I we looked at the scope of the proposed project and how the Coyotes plan to finance their development.

There is another element to consider regarding the Coyotes’ proposed project and that is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Does anyone remember that the Cardinals in 2001 wanted to locate their 198-foot-tall stadium in the same general area? Twenty years ago, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an opinion the Cardinals’ stadium site would be a “hazard to air navigation” as planned. To accommodate the FAA, their plans would have to be drastically reduced and would have generated a lot less revenue. In the end, it just didn’t pencil out and the Cardinals Stadium was built in Glendale.

“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” said George Santayana in 1905.

Here is the link to a story by Brandon Brown dated September 22, 2021 that relates issues raised by the FAA:  https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2021/09/22/sky-harbor-concerns-over-coyotes-tempe-arena.html .

Sky Harbor is one of the most significant economic assets of the state of Arizona. Twenty years ago, the FAA’s objections to the proposed height of the Cardinals’ stadium led to the withdrawal of the project from the Tempe site. In the years since 2001, Sky Harbor has grown with even more activity than ever. The imperative to protect it has only become stronger. The proposed site is only 10,000 feet from the end of the runway. That may sound like a lot of space but in terms of jet taking off or landing, it’s virtually nothing.

Chad Makovsky, director of Aviation Services for the city of Phoenix, in a very recent letter sent to the Coyotes raised several concerns. Makovsky said if the hockey arena is built, it offers “unique and significant challenges that may impair or altogether limit capacity at Sky Harbor.”

“In particular, Makovsky pointed out the proposed 1,600 apartments across multiple 12-story towers. He said that Sky Harbor, as an FAA-sponsored airport, and the city of Phoenix, which owns the airport, are obligated to oppose any residential development in that area of Tempe. ‘That’s an issue we’re going to have to stand firm on,’ Makovsky said. ‘Sixteen-hundred residential units right on departure path, I just don’t know what they were thinking. I don’t know why you would want to put residential units right off the end of two of the busiest runways in the state of Arizona.’”

Makovsky raised two more issues related to the proposed project. One was possible pilot distraction with the intensity on the site created by the of use of lights, digital screens/billboards, lasers or fireworks.

The other is the proposed 140 foot height of buildings when the FAA has mandated heights no greater than 100 feet. Tempe did recognize this fact and in its RFP required that any proposed development must meet FAA regulations or obtain a waiver from the FAA. Makovsky also noted that this project will take several years to build during which period construction cranes taller than the proposed 140 foot building height will be used.

The Coyotes and Tempe will need to see if the project remains viable without the residential component and with the remainder of the buildings being scaled down to meet the 100 foot height limitation. How much of the project could be removed and still remain viable in earning enough sales tax revenue to actually pay off the bonds?

That brings me to my blog, part III. In it, I will discuss the serious challenges posed for the Coyotes at this site as well as the Veteran’s Coliseum in Phoenix.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In this 3-part series of blogs I examine the Coyotes’ response to the city of Tempe’s Request for Proposal (RFP) in their effort to secure a permanent playing site in the East Valley.

On September 20, 2021, Pauline Pineda authored an exclusive look at the Coyote’s proposal. Here is the link:  https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2021/09/20/arizona-coyotes-reveal-proposal-for-new-arena-entertainment-district-tempe/8376362002/ .

Let’s begin with the first fact. Ms. Pineda states the site is “46 acres on the south bank of the Salt River that previously were used as a sand and gravel mining operation and a dump.” In comparison, Glendale’s Westgate Sports and Entertainment district is a 223-acre site. The Coyotes’ proposed site is roughly 20% or 1/5 the size of Westgate.

The second fact is their proposal in Phase I calls for, “300,000 square feet of commercial space, 320,000 square feet of office space, 1,600 residential units and two hotels.” It includes a 16,000-seat arena, a 1,500-seat theater, a commercial district, a 200-room boutique hotel, offices, and a 12-story apartment complex of 180 units. Their Phase II includes more than 1,500 apartment units in three apartment complexes 12 stories tall, a convention-style hotel with 300 rooms and additional retail and office space.

By way of comparison, Westgate currently has 8,000,000 square feet of mixed-use development that includes shopping, dining, entertainment, high-end condominiums, parks, and office space. Westgate has 5 hotels, convention space, 35 restaurants, and 3 apartment complexes. It has something else that cannot be replicated on the Coyotes’ proposed site…Tanger Outlets with nearly 80 retail shops. Their proposal sounds an awful lot like a mini-Westgate. No matter how much they try to stuff into those 46 acres, it will not generate the magnitude of sales tax generated by Westgate.

Here’s another fact to consider. There is a basketball arena that has just broken ground in Inglewood, California. It is where Steve Ballmer’s NBA Clippers will play beginning in 2024-25. It’s called the Intuit Dome and is expected to cost $1.8 billion to construct and you can be sure there will be cost overruns. To sweeten the deal, Mr. Ballmer will be donating $100 million to the city of Inglewood, funding job training, worker outreach, educational programs, and a rehabilitation of the Inglewood community center and library. It appears to be a project that Ballmer can easily afford (even with donations and cost overruns) as his net worth is pegged at $101 billion.

No one can guess at how successful Muerelo will be in obtaining additional investors. Keep in mind his net worth is reported to be $2 billion. It is certainly possible that he could end up using half of his net worth to develop his project. By way of contrast Bullmer can easily afford a $2 billion price tag to build new digs for his team and still have lots and lots of money left over. Bullmer is using his own money and Muerelo is relying on investor funding and sales tax to cover his proposed project.

 Fact number 3 looks at the proposed financial mechanisms for financing the project. What are the estimated costs for the Coyotes’ proposed project and how do they plan to pay for it? They are “proposing a $1.7 billion development in Tempe with a hockey arena, hotels, apartments and shops that the team says would be financed by private investors, although it wants to use a portion of city sales tax revenues generated on the site to help pay for $200 million in additional costs.”

They are asking Tempe to establish a “Community Facilities District, that would sell special assessment revenue bonds to raise $120 million for the east parcel and $80 million for the west parcel.  The bonds would be issued in phases to pay for projects as they get underway.”

“The proposal would repay the bonds over 30 years from three revenue sources:

  • A portion of the city sales taxes generated on the site and parking revenue. Tempe’s sales tax rate is 1.8%, with 0.6% designated for specific priorities such as art and transportation. The proposal is to use all but the designated sales tax funds generated on the site (1.2% of Tempe’s sales tax).
  • Up to a 6% surcharge on retail sales, including ticket, merchandise, and concession sales at the arena.
  • Real estate tax assessments on the property.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The team did not say how much each source would contribute to the bond repayment but said sales taxes would make up the bulk of the pot.”

Note that one of the repayment mechanisms proposed to pay off the 30-year bonds is real estate tax assessments on the property. Yet the Coyotes also seek a property tax abatement by transferring ownership of the land to Tempe and then leasing the land back for a fee through the use of a GPLET (Government Property Excise Lease Tax). The non-arena portions of the project such as the retail, office and apartments could have up to 8 years of property tax exemption. The arena and practice facility are allowed to have a longer tax exemption which is subject to negotiation. In essence, the real estate tax assessments would be negligible for a period of years.

No one knows what will be Tempe taxpayers’ appetite for using sales tax generated on the site.  After all, Tempe taxpayers will want whatever development that occurs on the site to generate sales tax to be used in their best interest not to help pay for yet another sports complex in the Valley. In today’s economy with inflation soaring, the very mention of using sales tax to help pay for a sports complex will not be an easy sell.

In part II of my blog we’ll take a look at how the Federal Aviation Administration may affect this proposed development.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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