City officials differ in view over Tempe entertainment district

City officials from Phoenix and Tempe are going head-to-head with the Arizona Coyotes arena and the entertainment district proposal.

TEMPE, Ariz. — The City of Tempe is accusing its neighbor Phoenix of using alarmist tactics to stop the development of a new apartment complex.

Tempe Mayor Corey Woods condemned flyers that Sky Harbor Airport sent in the mail to Tempe residents about a proposed entertainment development east of the airport.

“As Mayor of Tempe, I reject this alarmist tactic,” Mayor Woods wrote in a public statement Friday. “Our region is known for collaboration and responsible action. It is unprecedented for a neighboring city to stuff mailboxes with its opinion about an unapproved development project.”

The City of Phoenix has warned in the past the plan proposed by Tempe does not sit well with Sky Harbor Airport.

Tempe proposes to build a massive entertainment district around the new Arizona Coyotes arena with hotels, retail, apartments and a theater in the area of Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway.

“We’re very concerned about this development because it would be incompatible with our ongoing operations at the airport. So we’re asking the city of Tempe to reconsider this,” said Chad Makovsky, Sky Harbor Director of Aviation Services.

Makovsky says apartment residents will grow tired of plans flying overhead every 60 seconds during peak time periods and claims the development violates a 1994 agreement between both cities.

Tempe Mayor Corey Woods calls the claims “outrageous” and “inaccurate.”

“People interested in living at the proposed site would be well informed before making decisions – just like the thousands of other Tempe Town Lake-adjacent residents who already have chosen to live in an area with aircraft noise,” Woods said in the statement.

Woods plans to meet with Sky Harbor officials next week. Community meetings are also planned. 

There is not yet a development agreement with the proposer and negotiations are underway.

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