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Glendale reverts to 2020 deal on resort development and sidesteps voter referendum

Economic justice activists led a drive to send Glendale’s updated development plan for a Vegas-style resort to a voter referendum.

But the Glendale City Council has neutered their effort by reinstating the old deal signed in 2020.

Roughly two months after unanimously approving the updated development plan for a huge resort being built south of State Farm Stadium, each Glendale City Council member voted to repeal that amended deal.

Hear Audrey Jensen's interview with host Mark Brodie on The Show

vai-resort-audrey-jenson-mb-show-20230824.mp3

City resident Shawn Foley helped gather signatures so voters could decide the project’s fate and he spoke at Tuesday’s meeting.

“It would be extremely disappointing to me if the city council were to turn around and pass a similar development agreement in a few weeks providing that today’s vote was just to void the will of the voters,” Foley said.

Glendale’s mayor and vice mayor defended the resort project as a major source of predicted future revenue and a big job creator in a city which many residents leave when they go work.

Mayor Jerry Weiers said VAI Resort is projected to have nearly as many employees as the city of Glendale.

“A lot of people will come here to vacation where in fact in the past maybe they went to California,” Weiers said. “This is an opportunity that we get to showcase our city.”

The now repealed development deal predicted the resort would be fully built in November 2024.

Audrey Jensen has written about this for the Phoenix Business Journal, and she joined The Show to talk more about it.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.