The Arizona Cardinals aren’t happy with the city of Glendale’s ideas to solve a parking dispute that could still result in the National Football League franchise filing a $67 million lawsuit against the West Valley city.
The Cardinals wrote Glendale today saying the team could still sue the city as well as Westgate City Center owners (past and present) if the parking conflict isn’t resolved.
The Glendale City Council approved plans Tuesday to lease parking lots from the Arizona Department of Transportation and Westgate City Center owner iStar Financial and Hampton Suites hotel at Westgate so it can be in compliance with a parking contract with Cardinals and University of Stadium owner the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.
That contract calls on the city to provide 6,000 spots each football season. The Cardinals have threatened to sue the city over the parking contract because Glendale approved the new Tanger Outlet Mall at Westgate, which is taking away spaces.
The Glendale council sought to solve that parking dispute last night with agreements with ADOT and iStar for parking spaces.
The city believes its moves put it in compliance with the NFL parking contract.
“There has always been the understanding that parking will need to be adjusted to accommodate construction while maintaining the required number of spaces for NFL games,” said Glendale Economic Development Director Brian Friedman. “We have a contractual agreement to provide these spots and have done so every year since the stadium opened and will continue to do so per the agreement.”
The Cardinals COO Ron Minegar and AZSTA CEO Tom Sadler wrote the city today voicing displeasure with the new parking plan. “We continue to reserve all of our rights and remedies related to Westate parking,” said the Cardinals letter to Glendale Wednesday.
The Cardinals don’t like the ADOT parking lot because it is not part of Westgate land. The team is also worried there could be logistical problems with game day parking being located near the Tanger mall.
The NFL team wants Glendale to open 150 Westgate spots used by city personnel and contractors on game days to the general public, lease more Westgate spots from current owners and have the parking garage at the Renaissance Hotel at Westgate be free and open to the public.
The public can park at that garage during the football season now, but for a fee. The Cardinals want the city to make that into a free parking zone.
Glendale argues it has until the middle of June to work out its parking obligations for the NFL season because that is 60 days before the first Cardinals preseason home game on Aug. 17. The Cardinals and AZSTA disagree, saying the parking contract requires Glendale give 90 days notice before that August game of where the spots will be located.
In 2009, then Westgate owner Steve Ellman started charging football fans $20 per car to park during Cardinals games. Fans could get that $20 refunded if they shop or dine at Westgate restaurants.
Westgate was foreclosed on last year with lenders, including iStar Financial, now owning the center and some of its parking lots.