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PHOENIX-Downtown appears to have gained an edge over its competitors to land a $335-million football stadium for the Arizona Cardinals.

Downtown boosters says that the new 73,000-seat stadium can be built on a rail yard in the Downtown area using no more than $3 million in taxpayer-assisted financing. Most of the other communities vying for the stadium would have to spend significantly more in public funds to get their site ready for the stadium.

“We’ve ended up with a package even beyond what we expected, to deliver a site that doesn’t require a lot of public investment,” says Brian Kearney, executive director and chief executive officer of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, which promotes Downtown development. “We’ve got a winner here.”

State law requires that anytime a municipality wants to allocate more than $3 million for a private project, the plan must be put up for a public vote.

The site Downtown booster have in mind is directly south of Bank One Ballpark, which is at the southwest corner of 7th Street and Jefferson. The rail yard roughly follows Buchanan Street.

The proposed site on the rail yard offers significant savings because it would be able to share the giant air-cooling system that cools Bank One Ballpark. That sharing would reduce the overall construction costs by as much as $15 million. The savings would more than cover the expense of purchasing the parcel from Union Pacific, boosters say. The remaining infrastructure–parking, access roads and utilities–would cost less than $3 million to put in place, they add.

The competitors for the stadium include Tempe, which has offered a site just north of its recently filled Tempe Town Lake, and Avondale, which represents a consortium of West Valley cities and has offered a 450-acre site at 99th Avenue and Thomas Road. The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has offered a site along the Beeline Highway.

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has not yet put together a formal financial package, but experts have suggested that the Nation could finance the entire project using gambling proceeds.

Communities have until Jan. 5 to submit site proposals to the Tourism and Sports Authority, which will own and operate the stadium. The Authority has said it will narrow the list of potential sits to two by mid-January and will make a final decision on the location by mid-February. Construction is hoped to be started by March.

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