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Tucson Downtown/Rio Nuevo Thread


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  • 2 weeks later...

"Radisson or Clarion brands might be acceptable." I hope not. Especially Clarion- their properties tend to be at the lower end of the hotel food chain- not the upper end at all. I think an Omni, Hilton or Starwood property would be best. Marriott, of course, is usually a convention center standby. Perfectly OK, but nothing too exciting. Let's just see how this develops.

Edited by tombarnes
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There was a decent Clarion by Reid Park in Midtown, but it apparently lost its branding a few months back. And what's now the Hotel Arizona was a Radisson not even two years ago. You can still see it if you pull up their tarp on the sign, since they never bothered to put in a permanent one (kind of indicative of the hotel in general).

But you're absolutely right. If you're going to do something like this, invest public funds in a private hotel development, it needs to be done right. The Tucson's convention scene needs an upscale hotel Downtown to survive. Can't be putting people up at the Days Inn on I-10 or at the Hotel Congress, especially when they're prepared to pay $200+.

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A few Central Tucson noteworthies in the Tucson Weekly this edition:

Progress Delayed: A groundbreaking date for the downtown Town West condo proposal is nowhere in sight

I had thought that this thing was totally dead and that Town West was almost out of the picture on this lot. There was so much neighborhood opposition, not only from West University, like the article says, but also from every other surrounding neighborhood, that it seems almost like either the City is trying to sneak it in or the Weekly just wanted to dig up something and shake its corpse around. I'd guess the latter.

"The Range" reports that Downtown re-development now has some actual allocation figures:

The Range

$130 million: UA Science Center

$102 million: Arena, convention hotel and Convention Center remodelling (what happened to just leveling it?)

$100 million: Downtown infrastructure repairs and improvements (mostly underground stuff)

$70 million: Parking infrastructure

$66 million: Already invested in Tucson Origins Park/El Convento

$50 million: Arizona Historical Society Museum (currently in a glorified trailer near UA)

$10 million: Tucson Children's Museum (not sure what they'll do with that beautiful old library they're in now)

-----------------

$528 million total

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  • 2 weeks later...

A possible solution to the Steinfeld debacle?

Steinfeld is an old warehouse precariously close to Sixth Street and the railroad (where an underpass is planned) that is currently being used by various artists. It was initially decided that the warehouse would be destroyed for various reasons: the underpass construction, the widening of Sixth due to the Aviation extension, structural damage to the warehouse and the proposed development next door.

This new proposal would pay to move the artists (through monies provided by the land sale of the adjacent property to Town West) back and forth between the site, but would not subsidize their rents while in other locations, which is a big deal since all of this "work" could take years and years at the slow, Tucson pace.

At least the warehouse will be saved.

[edit]

Forgot the article link.

New plan lets artists return to Steinfeld Warehouse

[/edit]

Edited by colin
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Council seeks Town West deal

So now there's a hotel.

The Star is a little too optimistic about this. It'll take a long time from when this "deal" is made until construction actually begins because of the neighborhood trudgery.

For instance:

"Councilwoman Nina Trasoff ... said neighborhood residents and artists she's talked to either love or hate the project in equal numbers."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Now that Rio Nuevo is DEAD, enter "Tucson Downtown Partnership":

Downtown Alliance broadens its scope

According to the article, they're not actually a city-sanctioned department, so would still need the City (what used to be Rio Nuevo) to approve their decisions.

What does this mean? Lots more red tape.

Thank goodness, too, because I was just thinking how there wasn't quite enough already.

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  • 1 month later...

Housing market hurts Rio Nuevo

The problem is that no one wants to pay $300k for a condo anymore, let alone in flippin' Downtown Tucson. The article gives a really interesting run-down on the projects and their respective status-es though.

What I find encouraging is that MLK is going to go back to apartments and not to just more condos. When? "Begin construction in 2007." So, we just wait until... oh, wait.

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More city subsidies for eatery unlikely

Central Bistro is inside the train depot Downtown. It hasn't been open for very long, but I always assumed that it would either have to be spectacular or it would go under. I always feel really bad when these small, independently-owned restaurants get into financial trouble, and I do feel bad that I still haven't tried this place. Maybe soon.

But, again, the case is made about businesses being adversely affected by transit projects. In this case, it's the Fourth Avenue underpass, which has surely hurt everyone in that area as it's no longer possible to just dip under the tracks to get between the bar areas (that now requires a trip through the more sketchy Sixth Avenue underpass). But we've seen it in Phoenix on the Central Avenue corridor, and I saw it in Cleveland and Vancouver in my travels: businesses feel that they should be compensated for the adverse affects these projects cause.

Any thoughts?

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City says no to West Side waivers bid

I think it's important to have fair play in the development world, but this could do so much for Downtown, especially its west side, that I hate to see the City not give leeway on money that they don't already have.

Excavating the landfill was prohibitively expensive. But the city was finally able to get around the problem years later when new techniques of injecting microbes into the landfill to stabilize it were developed, making the property available for the Rio Nuevo plan we know today.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Revitalization board hears from its own: Plan is laid out for subsidizing bistro for 5 years

Enoteca is currently a small, quaint cafe on the far western end of Congress Street (it's actually the very last business). It's plan is to become much larger and add a market.

What would this do for Downtown (and why is Colin so excited about it)?

- Downtown would have an actual grocery where residents could be food, drink and various things without having it cooked for them and to tip someone afterward.

- A little, local business would get the chance to grow dramatically.

- The community as a whole would be better served.

But I don't buy the Little Italy thing that they're trying to sell. I don't think any of the owners of those businesses are actually Italian.

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Downtown hotel to get classy new life

Finally, the poor Santa Rita gets a hint of life.

This was a Clarion up until its closing about two years ago. I've always hoped that it would be renovated and put back on as a hotel. Downtown needs more hotels at this point.

I don't know that San Diego is a good example. I'd think more like Downtown Albuquerque and what they did with the Hotel Blue, although I would hope that it would be nicer than that.

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Four plans detailed for Downtown hotel

All four potential developers have finally released their full proposals.

I wish they could all win!

The Faulkner/Hyatt looks really interesting, but I don't think it'll make it (a little too weird for the chain hotel market).

The Norville/Marriott would most likely put the hotel in two different places in order to use his land. Kind of lame.

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The Marriott plan seems to be the dullest of the lot. I don't mind the glassy Hilton too much, but the Sheraton also suffers from a defecit of creativity. As for the Faulkner/Hyatt plan, it looks a bit like packing crates stacked haphazardly atop one another. I suppose one could say it had interest... I hope that the city planners in Tucson will be bold enough to suggest revisions. Is this at all likely, or is this what Tucson will be given in the end? There's possibility there, I just don't see the bold creativity I had hoped for.

Edited by tombarnes
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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't know if it was on this thread or not, but I had gone off on this fairly recently. Ernesto always seems to be able to be parse through the BS and tap the vane of the community. That's why he's got the front page editorial spot though as well as various other media gigs in town.

Ernesto Portillo Jr.: Portland trumpeted; no fanfare for Tucson

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City refuses $100,000-plus grant for security cameras Downtown

I posted something about this a long time ago, but I guess it just recently came up in Council.

The proposal would have set up cameras a la Big Brother to monitor illegal activity on Downtown streets. There is already quite a bit of implementation of this in the UK and it's been very effective for cutting down, if not outright preventing, crime.

I think it's a great idea, but I can understand why the city would be hesitant. American society is so full of conspiracy theorists and borderline paranoid schizophrenics that this is just asking for a lawsuit. I'd like to see an American city do this, but Tucson certainly isn't proactive enough to be the pioneer.

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City gives developer 30-day deadline

I was really excited about this project, but its death has been inevitable since the condo market started crashing almost a year ago. This was one of the more promising projects Downtown as it was to offer a large retail space and several well-designed condos all in a LEED-certified building.

Peggy Noonan is also actually a really nice lady, and I feel bad for her that she has to deal with press like this and flack from the City. But it's better than sitting on a dirt lot for another few years, since the parking lot has been pretty ripped up by excavations.

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  • 1 month later...

This has been coming for a long time, but it's quite a blow to the residential side of Rio Nuevo.

City breaks deal with Downtown condo developer

The question now is: what will happen to the property? My prediction is that it will be redeveloped as a mixed-use site, but not with the height or density that was seen in this proposal.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

There have been a few minor things in Tucson's news regarding development over the past few months, but nothing big enough to get excited about.

This is a new project though:

Downtown church's Sunday school to become condos

And since the Star are now jerks and make you log in sometimes:

"It's a great old building and we want to maintain the '50s feel," said Quinlan, who plans to add a third story to the education wing and transform it into about 40 lofts, ranging in price from $200,000 to $800,000.
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