PHOENIX-Embattled developer Steve Ellman and his partner, Wayne Gretzky, have started a whirlwind US tour to raise up to $90 to complete their purchase of pro hockey’s Phoenix Coyotes—a key step toward finishing a multimillion-dollar real estate development in suburban Scottsdale.

Ellman, head of locally based Ellman Cos., has been under pressure from Scottsdale officials to show that he has the financial clout to purchase the team and to complete the development of a $577 million mixed-use facility in the southern part of the upscale suburb. A 17,500-seat ice hockey arena will anchor the development, which also will include office space, retail stores, restaurants, an aquarium and movie theaters.

Ellman has handed over reams of financial documents to the city, but not everything the city asked for from his privately held company. A stadium district law passed by voters last year requires that the city spend at least $100 million on the project during the first 10 years. The new development is expected to return at least that amount to city coffers in increased sales tax revenue.

Ellman and Gretzky, a partner in the purchase of the team, have been trying to sell 90 shares at $1 million each to investors in and out of the state since April. Ellman and Gretzky need $87 million to complete the purchase of the team, and have already put in $16.5 million toward the sale. The pair was in Chicago yesterday to meet with a group of prospective investors.

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