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TEMPE, AZ-An apartment developer has stopped work on a $47-million apartment project in Tempe so that a controversial football stadium can be moved out of the path of planes landing at Sky Harbor Airport.

Magellan Real Estate stopped site work on the Riverview at Rio Salado, a 466-unit apartment complex at the behest of the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals asked to assume Magellan’s 85-year lease on the 12-acre parcel at the corner of Washington Street and the Center Parkway in Papago Park Center. Magellan accepted the team’s buyout offer, which could be at high as $12 million, say some local real estate experts.

The price made sense, says David Dewar, president of Magellan. The company has always had a good relationship with Tempe and didn’t want to stand in the way of it coming to fruition, he says. The Rio Salado Project area is an ideal location for an apartment development and the company will consider building elsewhere in the area if the right site can be found, he says. Magellan had had lease right to the parcel for more than year.

The Tourism and Sports Authority–the entity that will own and operate the stadium and is spending $335 million in taxpayer funds to build it–has proposed shifting the doomed stadium to the north onto the former Magellan site. It is hoped that the relocation of the stadium will appease the FAA and the city of Phoenix, which have expressed concern that the new stadium poses a risk to planes landing at Sky Harbor Airport. Phoenix has threatened to sue Tempe if the issue isn’t resolved. The FAA will issue a final ruling Sept. 11. Tempe, the TVA and the Arizona Cardinals plan to address each of the concerns that Phoenix and the FAA had about the location in the coming weeks.

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