Rio Nuevo Approves $3.2M Dollars to Upgrade Arena for Professional Hockey

After a presentation by the Arizona Coyotes CEO and owner Anthony LeBlanc, the Rio Nuevo District Board unanimously approved a $3.2M investment into the “back-of-the-house” of the TCC Arena to build out new locker rooms, weight rooms, and other components required by the American Hockey League.
The Board’s approval is subject to league approval and the finalization of an acceptable lease between the City of Tucson and the Coyotes. To assure that the Board recoups its expenditures, it will likely require a $2.00 surcharge on all hockey tickets sold and require that the team reimburse the District if they choose to leave before the lease terminates.
The Board also expressed an interest in investing in an offsite rink where the team could practice, along with the Arizona Wildcat Hockey team, which would double as a public skating rink when the teams are not practicing.
Mr. Le Blanc indicated the team would be interested in such a public/private partnership conversation.
In other action, the Board approved a $400,000 sponsorship of the new Arizona Bowl, held at the University of Arizona stadium around the Christmas holiday.  Board members will negotiate several downtown components to the bowl game with the hope to rival the events surrounding the Phoenix bowl games.
The Board also approved the agreement between the City and the District to take over the development agreement with the Gadsden Company for the property west of the freeway. Subject to City Council approval, this agreement will allow the District to partner with Gadsden and bring up 15,000 square feet of new retail on the vacant land west of I-10.