More Public Money For The Phoenix Arena Facelift Coming?

Phoenix may sell a hotel to pay for an arena update.



In the colliding world of sports and politics and public spending on arenas, it appears Phoenix has come up with a novel way to cover the costs for the renovation of the city’s flawed arena that is used by the National Basketball Association’s Suns. Sell a city funded money losing hotel, which all of a sudden is making money in the past two years and use that public money to fix up the arena to make the Suns owner Robert Sarver happy. On Tuesday, Phoenix lawmakers will decide if they want to sell the hotel for $255 million which would be at an $87 million loss. But the $255 million could go a long way in making Sarver happy and remaining downtown in a fixed up facility. Phoenix continues to throw money into a flawed building which is good for basketball and little else. Sarver apparently likes to have the only workable sports entity in the facility and does not want an NHL partner in the building. The design flaw has cost Valley of the Sun taxpayers a lot of money.


In the late 1980s, Phoenix elected officials decided to build an arena to satisfy Jerry Colangelo who was an owner of the Phoenix Suns National Basketball Association team. Instead of thinking about a multi-use arena, the solons of Phoenix approved a building to Colangelo’s specifications which was basketball centered and basically was useless for other events. Colangelo wanted an NHL team in the building. An NHL franchise came to Phoenix but it did not work because the arena design was bad. The various local Phoenix ownership groups looked elsewhere. They struck out in Scottsdale but landed in Glendale which had visions of being a sports hub. Glendale has been a financial disaster for the municipality in he arena building business, the franchise and the NHL. Phoenix lawmakers will look to please Sarver no matter what the cost.


Phoenix has failed as an NHL market because of arena problems.