Arizona Coyotes confirm attempt to purchase land for new arena in Mesa

The Arizona Coyotes issued a statement Wednesday confirming their attempt to purchase land in Mesa for a new arena.

“We can confirm that Coyotes Owner, Chairman & Governor Alex Meruelo has executed a Letter of Intent to purchase a parcel of land located in Mesa, Arizona to be the potential site for a sports arena and entertainment district for the Club,” the statement said. “The Coyotes remain committed to building the first privately funded sports facility in Arizona history and ensuring the Valley as the Club’s permanent home. In addition to this property in Mesa, the Club will continue to explore other potential sites in the East Valley.”

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro first reported the Coyotes’ intent to purchase the land Tuesday. He reported that the team was attempting to buy 41 acres.

“We appreciate the tremendous support that we have received from many communities, elected officials, and community leaders who have expressed their desire to see the Coyotes remain in the Valley permanently,” the Coyotes said in the statement. “We would also like to thank NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly for their steadfast support of the Club’s efforts to find a permanent arena solution, and for their recognition that Arizona is a tremendous hockey market.”

An aerial view of the proposed Arizona Coyotes arena and dining and shopping district in Tempe that was rejected by voters.

An aerial view of the proposed Arizona Coyotes arena and dining and shopping district in Tempe that was rejected by voters.

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The Coyotes have been searching for land for a new home since Tempe voters shot down a proposal for a new arena and entertainment district in that city in May.

Speaking to reporters in Nashville before the start of the NHL draft in June, Coyotes president Xavier Gutierrez said that the NHL team is trying to avoid a public vote on the new arena.

“We have been in constant communication with them about all of the options that we have,” Gutierrez told reporters.  “They feel very confident that we’re doing the right things.

“We’ve told them that one of the things we want to avoid is a public referendum, and everything that we’re looking at is to hopefully have this be something that would avoid that.

“We still want to put our money where our mouth is and build something that will be best in class, and finally, to all the fans, we are committed to making this happen.”

Gutierrez said the team was discussing six sites for an arena in the East Valley, but failed to go into specifics, only saying that the team had spoken to more than 12 sites and was now in discussions with six as possibilities to be the future home of the team, which currently plays in Mullett Arena, the home of the Arizona State University men’s hockey team.

“We were disappointed with the vote in Tempe, but we turned the page very quickly,” he said. “We re-engaged with multiple sites that we had talked to beforehand, and we feel quite confident that one of these many sites that we’ve put into play will come to fruition in the timeline that we’ve mentioned.”

He added about the East Valley: “Quite frankly, it’s where a business like ours should be located.”

The Coyotes haven’t offered any specifics about the parcel of land in Mesa.

The team has been previously linked to a site along the Red Mountain Freeway at Alma School Road.

The site of the old Fiesta Mall has also been mentioned as a possibility, although talk of that location as an option has cooled.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Coyotes arena update: NHL team attempts to purchase Mesa land

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