Phoenix Wants To Stop Planned Tempe Arena Project

Phoenix claims the Tempe project would interfere with the city’s airport.

Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona are neighbors who are going through a spat. There are some people in Phoenix who are objecting to Tempe attempting to transform a dump into an entertainment center complete with an arena that would house the local National Hockey League franchise. Phoenix lawmakers decided to sue Tempe, interfering with the Tempe government’s decision to try and develop waste land, because Phoenix officials are concerned the entertainment district project is too close to a flight path for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. According to Phoenix officials, the entertainment district would only be about 9,800 feet from the airport’s south runway. Phoenix is in court with Tempe because the city claims a 1994 agreement where Phoenix and Tempe made concessions to help mitigate noise from the airport has been violated. Phoenix officials want a judge to order Tempe to rescind any zoning or land-use changes the city made in relation to the entertainment district. All of this might be a moot point because Tempe residents will be going to the polls to say yes or no on the planned project on May 16th.

Now why would Phoenix officials want to stop a Tempe project? What are the motives of Phoenix politicians? Are Phoenix elected officials afraid that some entertainment money that flows into their city now might exit Phoenix? Is Phoenix preparing a plan that might get the owner of the local NHL team who has the Tempe project development rights to take a look at two older arenas in Phoenix that could house a hockey team? Phoenix did once host an NHL team. But 1980s Phoenix sitting lawmakers approved a  poorly designed taxpayers’ funded municipal arena could not accommodate a hockey team as at least 4,000 seats offered obstructive views of the playing surface. The franchise ownership left because of the poor design.

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