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Auction canceled for land where Arizona Coyotes owner planned to build stadium

Arizona Coyotes Chairman and Governor Alex Meruelo (left0 speaks as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman listens
Associated Press
Arizona Coyotes Chairman and Governor Alex Meruelo (left0 speaks as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman listens as they hold a news conference.

The Arizona State Land Department has put plans to build a new professional hockey stadium in north Phoenix on ice.

Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo sold the franchise to owners in Utah in April, but he retained the right to bring a new expansion team to Arizona if a new stadium is built within the next five years.

Even before selling the team, a group led by Meruelo planned to bid on about 100 acres of state trust land in north Phoenix to build that stadium and an entertainment district.

The State Land Department scheduled an auction for June 27 with a starting bid of $68.5 million, but the department canceled that auction today.

In a news release, the department said the stadium would require a special use permit and Meruelo’s group must obtain that permit before the land goes to auction.

“This affords the applicant and ASLD certainty that the applicant can build what it intends to build for its anchor tenant,” according to the letter. “It is not uncommon for ASLD to require applicants to secure zoning/use permits prior to auction.”

The state’s Land Trust includes over nine million acres of land in Arizona. Proceeds from state land trust sales benefit several state entities, including K-12 public schools and universities.

The department added that it “remains open to working with our applicant to bring the land forward to auction in the future if a special use permit is received.”

Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.
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