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Auction for potential Arizona Coyotes arena site canceled again

Posted 6/21/24

An Arizona State Land Department auction for a parcel being eyed to bring professional hockey back to the Valley was cancelled again on Friday.

SLD officials said  it was in the "best …

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Development

Auction for potential Arizona Coyotes arena site canceled again

Posted

An Arizona State Land Department auction for a parcel being eyed to bring professional hockey back to the Valley was canceled again on Friday.

The former owners of the Arizona  Coyotes said the move by the ASLD "seriously jeopardizes" the ability for the group to bring the team back to the region.

SLD officials said  it was in the "best interests" of the trust to cancel the auction scheduled for June 27 because of the complexity involved in bringing what could be a more than $2 billion hockey arena and accompanying development to the land in north Phoenix.

"ASLD recently confirmed that the proposed arena use will require a special-use permit, and as a result we are requesting that the applicant file for and receive a special-use permit prior to the auction," department officials said in a press release. "This affords the applicant and ASLD certainty that the applicant can build what it intends to build for its anchor tenant. It is not uncommon for ASLD to require applicants to secure zoning/use permits prior to auction."

The applicant, Miracle Development LLC, is the group put together by former Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Mereulo, who sold the team this spring. The team will now play in Salt Lake City under the temporary moniker Utah Hockey Club.

In a statement, the group called the cancellation an "unprecedented action by the state of Arizona."

"It has been made very clear to the state of Arizona that the Coyotes are fully committed to building out the infrastructure, going through the necessary approvals and developing the site into a world-class destination, yet the ASLD has canceled the auction despite the objection of the Coyotes less than a week before the scheduled auction date," the group said in a statement.

Calling it a "good-faith effort" to work with the ASLD, the group said it would explore legal options following the cancellation.

The team was sold after a failed attempt to build the project in Tempe when voters rejected the proposal. Mereulo and the team scouted the Valley for sites and settled on the state trust land near Desert Ridge Marketplace and the Mayo Clinic Hospital.

This is the second time the auction has been canceled. ASLD officials said in the release they would be open to bringing it to auction again in the future but set no date.

"We understand the delay in an auction is a disappointment for our applicant and members of the public, but the change in timing is the prudent decision for the Trust," the release stated. "ASLD remains open to working with our applicant to bring the land forward to auction in the future if a special use permit is received."

Mereulo was granted five years by the National Hockey League to find an arena site and get a facility built and he would be granted either a new franchise or a potential move from an existing team. The Coyotes records would stay with that new franchise, if the team is reconstituted.