Phoenix City Council Votes In Favor of Talking Stick Resort Arena Renovations

After a nearly three-hour meeting where citizen opinion was heard and plans were explained, the Phoenix City Council voted 6-2 in favor of the Talking Stick Resort Arena renovations that will cost $230 million. The Suns will pay $80 million while the city will pay the remaining $150 million.

The city payment will be taken from a fund that is paid from various hotel and rental car taxes already in place. According to Economic Development Director Chris Mackay’s findings, 93% of the rental car tax and 88% of the hotl tax has come from outside the state.

The city would remain the landlord to the building and will pay $2 million per year to the Renewal and Replacement fund, which would be used for maintenance once the renovation. The Suns would pay the difference in expenses if the project goes over budget. They would pay $1 million per year to the Reserve & Replacement fund and remain the tenant until 2037. They would pay an esitmated $60 million in rent to the city and build a new practice facility off-site for the team that would cost an estimated $25-50 million. 

Here is Robert Sarver’s instant reaction to the decision.

In the strangest part of the three-hour meeting, Larry Naman took the podium for comment. Naman shot Mary Rose Wilcox, who served on the board that approved the building of Chase Field, in 1997. Naman was found guilty of first degree murder and served 12 years in prison before getting released in 2010. Wilcox spoke in favor of the renovations just minutes before Naman took the stadium.

“The public must be allowed to vote on this,” Naman said. “If you pass this, you are crossing a line and carrying out the equivalent of an act of violence against the public.”

He then recounts shooting Wilcox over the “baseball stadium tax matter.” After a council member apologized to Wilcox for having to relive that incident, Naman said “she deserved it.”

12News’ Brahm Resnik spoke with Naman after the vote.

Sarver said the team wants to hit the ground running with their renovations and will hope to break ground on the new practice facility this summer.