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       


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