Voters appeared to have rejected the three propositions that would have allowed developers to construct the $2.3 billion Tempe Entertainment District, election results show.
By a 56-44 split, the initial results for Tempe’s special election show more voters chose to say “NO” to let developers build a massive complex that includes a new sports arena for the Arizona Coyotes.
Tuesday’s first drop of ballot results dealt a devastating blow to an NHL team that had hoped to find a new permanent home in the East Valley.
Coyotes President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said Tuesday night he was disappointed by the election results and that the team’s future will be evaluated in the coming weeks by owners and the NHL.
“While we wanted a different outcome, we remain grateful to all those who volunteered their time and talent,” Gutierrez said.
The arena would have been surrounded by retail, entertainment, and residential space. The 46-acre project site is currently home to a city-owned landfill.
Back in November, the city adopted a resolution and ordinance authorizing the TED project, which would be built near Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway. But city leaders allowed voters to hold a referendum to either approve or reject the large-scale project.
Tempe voters were asked to respond to three separate propositions that asked three questions: whether to approve rezoning the property for the entertainment district, whether to approve amending the city’s General Plan for the TED project, and whether to approve the project’s development agreement.
The 29,000 ballots tabulated thus far show the proposal being defeated. The election staff has about 4,200 ballots left to tabulate.
As of 8 p.m. on May 16th, the results were as follows:
Proposition 301 had 16,193 “no” votes and 12,738 “yes” votes (56%-44%)
Proposition 302 had 15,681 “no” votes and 12,208 “yes” votes (56%-44%)
Proposition 303 had 15,981 “no” votes and 12,004 “yes” votes (57%-43%)
The Tempe City Council issued the following statement in reaction to Tuesday’s election results:
“Tempe voters have spoken and we respect their voices. Our unanimous vote in November 2022 to move the Tempe Entertainment District forward, after months of due diligence and negotiations, showed our enthusiasm for this project and our belief that it was in the best interests of the community. Enough residents did not share our view and we accept this result.
The Arizona Coyotes have been good partners in this effort. We believe Alex Meruelo, Xavier Gutierrez and the whole organization have put forward their best for our community and for this proposal. We are grateful for the resounding community support from past Mayors and City Councils, from the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Tempe Tourism, the Black Chamber of Arizona and so many more.
It’s time to move forward. Above all, we as Tempe residents are neighbors and friends who can determine where we will go next. This fall we will offer public input opportunities to begin creating a path forward for this important property.”
The NHL released a statement through their PR Twitter account:
Statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman regarding the results of the arena vote in Tempe, Arizona. pic.twitter.com/MVL3AUWP7R
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 17, 2023