Craig Jackson has told WestWorld of Scottsdale to keep its doors open for his auto auction through 2008, but he is still negotiating with Glendale to find a permanent home for the event.
Jackson, auction president, has already secured the WestWorld equestrian center for next year’s Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction. Additionally, in a March 3 letter to Scottsdale officials, Jackson exercised an option in his contract with the city to hold that space for 2007 and 2008.
But that doesn’t commit Jackson to actually use WestWorld, Barrett-Jackson spokesman Jason Rose said. He could choose to move the auction while keeping part of the event in Scottsdale.
Jackson has been in talks with Glendale about moving the auction to that city’s new arena, which houses the Phoenix Coyotes professional hockey team. Scottsdale officials, meanwhile, are trying to negotiate to keep the highprofile event.
The auction has grown dramatically — selling more than $60 million in cars this year. Jackson has said WestWorld is no longer big enough. Scottsdale has planned $89 million in improvements, in part to keep Barrett-Jackson.
But Jackson said those improvements aren’t enough.
Still, recent discussions between Jackson and city officials have been productive, and Scottsdale hopes to improve WestWorld for next year’s auction, Rose said.
The city might improve drainage on the WestWorld polo fields and at 94th Street, and also straighten the road through the center, City Manager Jan Dolan said.
WestWorld’s planned improvements are being reconsidered to meet the needs of both Jackson and the center’s equestrian events.
Documents show Dolan was not aware Jackson was actively looking to move the auction until publication of a Tribune article in January.
"According to the article, you have been in negotiations with Glendale and Steve Ellman for three months," Dolan wrote in a Jan. 28 e-mail to Jackson.
"This is not consistent with what you told me on (Dec.) 13, 2004, when I specifically asked you if you were negotiating to move the event to Glendale and you indicated that no you were not."
That misunderstanding has not disrupted Scottsdale’s negotiations, Dolan said. "He’s in business, he’s going to (use) business strategies. I think the point is, today we are having constructive, productive discussions with them."