Westgate gets a boost

Westgate, the Glendale entertainment hub featuring sports venues and ample options for the sports bar crowd, is in the middle of a revival. With the combination of homegrown businesses setting up shop and the city itself making investments to keep the professional sports teams engaged, Westgate may see some new life pump through its veins.

Putting Things on Ice

It seems like every year for the past few years the scuttlebutt around the National Hockey League is that the Arizona Coyotes are playing with one hand on a stick and the other on a suitcase. The ‘Yotes home turf, the Gila River Arena at Westgate in Glendale, has been under the microscope in terms of renewing its lease, putting the hockey team’s home field advantage in a tossup.

Now, the company that runs the arena is looking to keep the ice house skating along for at least the next eight-ish years as part of a new contract. The City of Glendale recently extended its contract with AEG facilities to manage the space until June 30, 2026. City officials initially opted for a five-year lease back in 2016, marking the original end date of 2021.

Three years still remain on the current contract, but according to Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps, the purpose of the extension was to lock something long-term down and fast.

“Providing long-term stability was one of the driving factors in extending the agreement with AEG…” says Phelps. “After years of uncertainty about the arena, I wanted our community, major tenants, promoters, Westgate businesses etc. to know that AEG is here for the long haul.”

Back in 2016, Glendale approved the five-year contract with AEG, keeping a window open for an extension like this one. To sweeten the deal, Phelps dropped in a request to install a new high-tech LED lighting system and video board above the rink. The board, which will be installed before the home opener between the Coyotes and the Anaheim Ducks on October 6, weighs in at about 56,000 pounds and features a curved look with four convex, high-definition video displays and two more displays underneath it.

“When the opportunity came to acquire the scoreboard at a substantially reduced rate, the City jumped at the chance,” says Phelps. “According to Coyotes management, with the installation of this scoreboard, it will be considered in top echelon in the NHL for quality of the scoreboard.”

Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen echoes the all-around positive news for all parties involved in a statement: “As the fellow owner of an NHL franchise, AEG understands and appreciates our goal of providing the best fan experience possible at every one of our games.”

The city currently pays AEG $5.6 million per year to manage the arena, a figure that’s offset by shared arena revenues. This is all exciting news for the arena, the city, the arena’s managers, and the Coyotes, and also just one piece of an even bigger boost in the surrounding entertainment district, Westgate.

Home-brewed Happiness

The West Valley destination sees its fair share of happy hour hounds and culture vultures when concerts come rolling through, but it’s always been a hub for mainstream bars and food spots. Now, Westgate will be getting a homegrown addition to its roster of watering holes as Surprise-based brewery State 48 recently announced its intentions to open a new brewery and taproom at the location.

State 48 Funk House Brewery will offer up tastes and tipples for the district’s weekend and evenings crowds, and focus on sour beers and barrel-aged beers. The goal is to open the doors before the Arizona Cardinals kick off their 2018-2019 season home games on September 9 against the Washington Redskins.

Spreading out to 18,000 square feet, the new location will include a full-service bar, 12 bowling lanes, billiards and shuffleboard, making it more than just a place to grab a beer.

Other than the fact that we make phenomenal beer, this place has much to offer. In a sea of chain restaurants, we are an independent, locally owned family business,” says owner Mario Rana. “This place will have an inviting atmosphere that caters to the beer aficionado and the person just getting into craft beer.”

State 48 has been brewing up its own success as of late. It has two more breweries under construction at this time–one in the historic Welnic Building in downtown Phoenix, set to open at the end of the month, and a 17,000 square-foot facility in Scottsdale.

Nick Esquer

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