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Glendale copes with consequences of NHL lockout

Aaron Hernandez, manager of McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon at Westgate City Center in Glendale, said the National Hockey League lockout is costing his establishment between $18,000 and $25,000 per canceled game. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Sarah Pringle)

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon at Westgate City Center usually commands a full house before and after Phoenix Coyotes games at the adjacent Jobing.com Arena.

The NHL lockout is costing McFadden's between $18,000 and $25,000 per game, according to manager Aaron Hernandez.

"We're missing out every game," Hernandez said. "Usually Westgate is flourishing by now."

The cancellation of games through Nov. 30 because of the expiration of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement could be costly for other businesses in Glendale, which also is home to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

"There's a lot of people wondering just what's going on and where do we go from here," Hernandez said.

Jennifer Stein, a spokeswoman for Glendale, said the city loses an estimated $60,000 from the arena in tax revenues per canceled Coyotes game, though she said it's difficult to gauge the full impact.

"There are other activities out there that help keep that area vibrant," Stein said. "Granted, if we're looking at the whole season, that's a tremendous impact."

The city-owned facility opened in 2003 at a cost of $180 million.

Since Glendale is banking on tax revenues generated by the arena helping to pay its debt, Timothy James, research professor at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, said the lockout creates uncertainty about how the city will fund the arena.

"How does it continue to fund something in the circumstances that the team isn't playing?" James said.

Rick Merritt, president of Elliott D. Pollack & Co., an economic and real estate consulting firm in the Valley, said that a continued loss of hockey games would be devastating because venues like Jobing.com Arena are dependent on anchor tenants.

"Because of scheduling of other events, it's not possible to fill those on a very short-term notice," Merritt said.

The NHL took over the franchise in 2009 after former owner Jerry Moyes filed for bankruptcy. A proposed sale of the club to Greg Jamison, former CEO of the San Jose Sharks, hasn't been finalized.

The continued lockout will also harm the Coyotes' ownership negotiations, Merritt said.

"The city's out there with expenses on the arena they have to take care of, and that was going to be taken care of by the new owner," he said.

Don Rinehart, president of Glendale's Chamber of Commerce, said the silver lining will be the opening this week of Tanger Outlets Westgate, with 80 brand name and designer outlet stores, next to Westgate City Center.

"That's going to give a real jump start to that area," Rinehart said.

Mario Sneezy, manager of Just Sports, a sports merchandise store at the Westgate City Center, said he is optimistic the new shopping center and the remaining NFL season will make up for lost sales to hockey fans.

"But you get those loyal fans coming in that really love hockey, that love their Phoenix Coyotes team," Sneezy said. "They're still looking for products to buy."

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