A lengthy battle between the city of Glendale, the Arizona Cardinals and the owners of University of Phoenix Stadium ended with the city agreeing to a $17 million payment and the construction of new lots.
The agreement establishes a permanent parking solution at the stadium. Glendale will provide 11,000 parking spaces in the Westgate Entertainment District area under the terms of a 2003 contract with the Cardinals and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which owns and operates the stadium. When the city didn't follow through initially, it led to legal threats and a diminished relationship with the football franchise.
"There was a number of flawed relationships, but that was probably the most visible one for the city," City Manager Kevin Phelps said.
More than ten years ago, Glendale was one of several cities vying to become the home of the Cardinals. The Cardinals chose Glendale when the city promised $36 million in infrastructure improvements plus the parking spaces.
The city did not follow through on the improvements and instead allowed the development of Tanger Outlets, which eliminated more than 5,000 parking spots. In 2012, the Cardinals and the Sports and Tourism Authority filed a $66.7 million claim against the city.
The city has since spent $700,000 each year to lease Westgate Entertainment District parking spaces and to shuttle fans from an offsite city-owned property. Glendale has also been purchasing properties to build parking near the stadium.
The parking lot improvements are expected to cost $10.5 million, which is included in the city's budget.
The settlement agreement releases Glendale from all claims and requires the city to pay the Cardinals and the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority nearly $17 million in damages, which will be spent on stadium improvements.
"They're going to take the (money) and turn around and reinvest it back into the stadium, which I think is fantastic," Phelps said. "We're obviously thrilled to death from the city perspective that they would do that."