Proposed Priest-Rio Salado Project

In July 2021, the City of Tempe solicited proposals to develop a new sports arena and mixed-use development adjacent to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Tempe received one proposal from Bluebird Development, a firm that represents the Arizona Coyotes Hockey Franchise. The proposed location is at the northeast corner of Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive. Learn more about Tempe’s Request for Proposals.

The development could pose significant operational challenges for the airport, including potential flight path impacts from structures and intended uses.  

The airport has called on the developer to provide more detailed information about the development that will allow the airport conduct a thorough analysis of potential impacts. City of Phoenix Director of Aviation Services Chad Makovsky sent a letter regarding the Tempe Arena Request for Proposals, no. 22-030 (Rio Salado Pkwy & Priest Drive); Arizona Coyotes (IceArizona Hockey Co LLC) & Bluebird Development LLC’s Proposal to Nicholas Wood of Snell & Wilmer on Sept. 20. See the letter.

Sept. 24, 2021, Director of Aviation Services Chad Makovsky sent a letter to the procurement officer for Tempe Arena Request for Proposals, no. 22-030 inviting Tempe officials to begin discussions with Sky Harbor about key features of the proposed development. See the letter.

On Oct. 20, 2021 Airlines for America, which represents the busiest airlines at Sky Harbor, sent a letter expressing concerns, requesting additional information, and urging a thorough evaluation of the proposed development.

On Oct. 21, 2021 staff from the Phoenix Aviation Department made this presentation to the Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board.

On Oct. 25, 2021 the attorney representing the developer of the proposed project sent a letter to the City of Phoenix Aviation Department. On Nov. 2, 2021, the Phoenix Aviation Department responded with this letter.

On Nov. 9, 2021 the attorney representing the developer of the proposed project sent this letter to Phoenix Director of Aviation Services Chad Makovsky as a follow-up to a meeting.

On Nov. 18, 2021 the Coyotes made a presentation to the Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board.

While the City of Phoenix Aviation Department has questions about several items in the Nov. 9 letter and the Nov. 18 presentation, technical meetings will be taking place in an effort to resolve remaining concerns.

While Sky Harbor awaits detailed data from the developer, the City of Phoenix Aviation Department has conducted an initial analysis of potential flight traffic over the proposed development. Sky Harbor has repeatedly called on the developer to provide the additional data it needs to conduct, along with its industry partners, a comprehensive analysis of potential impact.  It remains our goal to cooperatively work with the developer to mitigate identified impacts in order to protect the airport's ability to grow and serve our region for generations to come.

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