Alex Meruelo hits major setback in quest to build Coyotes new arena

alex meruelo hits major setback in quest to build coyotes new arena

Alex Meruelo.

The Arizona Coyotes have, for now, lost their last bit of hope for a new arena, with the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) canceling the Phoenix land auction that was scheduled for June 27, shares Craig Morgan of Go PHNX.  The Coyotes, now reduced to a short team behind ex-owner Alex Meruelo, were hoping that this land auction would provide the ground for their new arena — one fans have been waiting for since the Coyotes were booted from Gila River Arena in 2022.

But once again, the Coyotes seem to be missing logistical steps, with the ASLD sharing that the Coyotes’ arena proposal would require a "special use permit" that the team hasn’t yet filed for. Morgan adds that the Coyotes were under the impression that the land had already been zoned, but reports from the spring emphasize that wasn’t the case. It won’t be until the Coyotes have received that zoning permit that the ASLD will move forward with the land auction. This will include going through a formal process with the City of Phoenix’s Planning and Development Department, including a vote from the city’s Board of Adjustment.

In other words, the Coyotes seem a long way out from even considering buying more land in their old namesake city. The permit application process can take upwards of two or three months, depending on Board activity, effectively sidelining the Coyotes while the succeeding Utah Hockey Clubs settles into the league. No representatives from the prevailing Coyotes organization have yet commented on this matter, leaving it unclear as to whether the team intends to move forward with the land purchase at all now.

More importantly, the NHL hasn’t commented on this setback. The team previously shared that Meruelo was grandfathered in to NHL ownership, should he compile the pieces necessary to build an arena. But he’s now moving backward in that quest, with no indication of next steps. That uncertainty won’t be able to stick around for much longer if Meruelo really does want to bring hockey back to the desert — with plenty of other cities — like Houston, Quebec City and Atlanta — vying for NHL expansion of their own.

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