The Tempe City Council will consider whether to move into formal negotiations on a proposal to build a professional hockey arena, hotels, offices, and retail and residential space on city land during a meeting June 2. Residents may also offer comments during the meeting.

The Meruelo Group and the Arizona Coyotes submitted the project proposal through their affiliate, Bluebird Development LLC, according to a news release from the city of Tempe May 25.

Should the council decide yes, the city and the developer will begin negotiations—but that is not approval of the project. A yes from the council June 2 would initiate a monthslong process that would include community input and public meetings, according to the release.

A no decision would mean the council has officially declined the developer's proposal. The council could then choose to issue a new call for proposals at this location, according to the release.

Moving through the process

Months before the council can decide whether to officially select the proposing organization to build an entertainment district at Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway, the council members must first decide if the city should formally negotiate with the proposer, according to the release.

The city of Tempe issued a request for proposals for a professional sports entertainment district July 22, 2021. The city received a proposal from Bluebird LLC on Sept. 2, 2021, according to the release. Since that time, city staff members have been analyzing the proposal with the assistance of sports, legal and financial consultants as part of its intensive due diligence process, according to the release.

Discussions surrounding a potential move for the Arizona Coyotes hockey team began after the city of Glendale announced it would not renew its agreement with the hockey team at Gila River Arena. The team announced in early 2022 it would play out of an Arizona State University facility in Tempe through the 2024-25 NHL season with the potential to add on the following season.

The city of Tempe announced in an April statement the council directed city staff to seek clarification from the project proposer on a number of matters. City Manager Andrew Ching said in the release the process that will occur June 2 is common for any development proposal on city land.

“Final decisions on this developer’s ideas are not happening June 2. This is about whether the council wants to talk more about the group’s ideas or not,” Ching said in a statement. “We wanted to provide ample notice to community members about this meeting so they can learn more and make plans to provide input if they choose.”

What happens if the city enters negotiations

If the Tempe City Council votes June 2 to proceed with negotiations, that would mean they have officially accepted the original submittal of the developer and want to hear more. It does not mean the project is moving forward, according to the city.

During negotiations, the parties would attempt to formulate a development and disposition agreement, which is a highly detailed, legal document of financial terms, timelines, specifics about what would be built and more, according to the release. It would include the financial terms, timelines, specifics about what would be built and more.

If the City Council votes against negotiations June 2, that means it has officially passed on the proposal of the developer, according to the city.

Offering input

The format for the June 2 meeting will include a presentation from the development team to the council, questions from the council to the developer, input from community members and a vote on whether to proceed to negotiations, according to the release. During the meeting, the council also could temporarily adjourn to a closed session allowed by state law to obtain legal guidance.

Community members can participate in person or virtually.

The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 31 E. Fifth St. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. Signs, banners and other similar visual items will not be permitted in the chambers, and face masks are strongly recommended for those attending in person, according to the release.

Residents can participate virtually by filling out a comment card to request to speak virtually and registering through Webex. The city clerk’s office accepts requests for virtual speaking until two hours before the meeting. Visit for details.