City, Developer at Odds Over Arena

Sat May 29, 2004 - West Edition

PHOENIX (AP) A dispute over unpaid bills from Glendale Arena’s construction has angered city officials, some of whom now question whether developer Steve Ellman will break ground on the Westgate development this year as promised.

“First, the Ellman Companies said [Westgate would break ground in] June. Then they put it off to October. And now, I’m concerned it’ll be put off again,” Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark said.

Ellman was supposed to develop more than 500,000 sq. ft. of commercial and office space within six months of the arena’s December opening. But so far, nothing has been developed.

In an interview on May 12, Ellman initially blamed part of the unpaid arena bills on Glendale, saying that it owed $4 million on the project and that he also needed to pay another $4 million. He said the bills would be paid once both sides reconciled the accounts.

Angry city officials responded that Glendale spent every cent of the $150 million it committed to construction and nearly all of the $30 million it set aside for infrastructure.

Ellman backed off his claims later on May 12.

Meanwhile, several vendors at the Glendale Arena have told the city their outstanding bills have not been paid by Ellman’s partnerships.