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Tucson Downtown/Rio Nuevo Thread


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lots of talk for what will likely be very little actual development (as your predictions indicate, colin). there's been much written in all the local rags of late about the need for more high-end accommodation downtown (and much bemoaning the flight of the annual waste management convention from tucson to phoenix for the next 5 years, mainly because of the dearth of accommodations). i agree that more high-end rooms are needed, but i would add that there definitely needs to be a greater concentration of them right downtown and not so near the freeway exits.

the arena thing is a little confusing. i was pretty excited about it - at least as excited as i might get about a new arena - until i read how few people it's supposed to seat. i know it's got a dedicated purpose to serve an existing need, and from the downtown tucsonan i learn that the bigger problem, facilities-wise, is the need for smaller 'break out' convention space (small meeting rooms, etc.), but it seems that the arena thing could be more. it's like they thought big in terms of design and in terms of committing rio nuevo money to something concrete, but not in terms of making an arena that could wear many hats, say, 15 years down the road (though that's well into a facility's life cycle, in many cases). and yeah, i don't see the turtle thing, except in that way that somone points it out to you and you nod vaguely. i guess downtown's destined to become a megalithic desert menagerie, with the snake bridge and the tortoise arena. what next? mountain lion street cars?

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Has anyone ever heard about Flint Oil Company?

They are a small family owned and operated business that the Big City Project, The Rio Nuevo Project, is kicking out.

They were established in 1962 and now the city of Tucson is kicking them off the property for the Rio Nuevo Project, even though they promised to relocate Flint Oil or give them a moving allowance.

By shutting down the business, it is going to put half the family on the unemployment line.

What are they supposed to do now?

This is not fair, but as we all know, the government doesn't have to act fairly to the small business, only the ones with deep pockets as they have proven time and time again.

This story has been on the local channel 4 TV news, Jolt radio with John C Scott, Inside Tucson Business (2 times), and the Aztec Press, but this has not helped. The city officials have not answered their phone calls, emails, or post mail letters. However, they were able to set up a meeting with one Council member, only to be canceled a few days later by her.

Below are the links to some of the articles.

http://www.azbiz.com/articles/2007/02/02/front/news01.txt

http://www.kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?s=6102860

http://www.azbiz.com/articles/2007/03/02/news/news02.txt

Edited by Ronellesfree
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They were established in 1962 and now the city of Tucson is kicking them off the property for the Rio Nuevo Project, even though they promised to relocate Flint Oil or give them a moving allowance.

By shutting down the business, it is going to put half the family on the unemployment line.

What are they supposed to do now?

This is not fair, but as we all know, the government doesn't have to act fairly to the small business, only the ones with deep pockets as they have proven time and time again.

http://www.azbiz.com/articles/2007/02/02/front/news01.txt

http://www.kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?s=6102860

http://www.azbiz.com/articles/2007/03/02/news/news02.txt

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I agree that there are two sides to this, and the city is withholding so much information which makes them very shady. The city, or really city officials, are going to and have been making a lot of money off of the Rio Nuevo Project. I have heard of several small businesses dying because of it and many other large companies who are in with the city officials, making bank off of this.

The tanks that they have on the property are empty and have been for years. Actually, the last time they were used was when the city used one of the tanks to store gasoline for Y2K "just in case" and never gave them anything for that. I did some training with the city and found out that this property is basically a clean site environmentally. They were very good at complying with all the environmental rules and regulations.

As for not paying rent, they tried. The city bought the property from Union Pacific, who use to mail them a rent bill every 6 months. But when the city

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I live in Phoenix, so i've not heard of this. I do ask that you choose your phrasing carefully. I will not moderate points of view, I feel all should be heard. Levying accusations, without proof is dangerous, and while I don't know heads or tails on what you are talking about please be a little candid on how you word things on either point. It is not the goal of urbanplanet to perpetuate rumor and heresay.

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I live in Phoenix, so i've not heard of this. I do ask that you choose your phrasing carefully. I will not moderate points of view, I feel all should be heard. Levying accusations, without proof is dangerous, and while I don't know heads or tails on what you are talking about please be a little candid on how you word things on either point. It is not the goal of urbanplanet to perpetuate rumor and heresay.
Edited by Ronellesfree
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I remember hearing about the site but don't recall who the owners were. I do remember that there was some sort of environmental issue(s) that had to be dealt with on the site, but that may have been wrong.

But it is a light industrial oil storage facility in the middle of what will hopefully become a key piece to Tucson's Downtown gateway. I don't see how its current usage can work well with the overall goals considering how much it will drive down property values. And it seems like everyone is looking for a Rio Nuevo hand out right now.

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A couple of Rio Nuevo-related articles in the Weekly this week:

The Skinny

The first item is regarding the possible deal the City and UA have reached regarding the ever-contentious museum site on the west side of I-10. The whole thing is certainly not over, but we're closer now.

Also, please do take a look at the second item, which talks about a pretty evil developer in the midst of the Valley of the Sun who has come down from that other, much more retched valley to our far north to build crappy homes in the open desert of the East Valley.

Show Us the Money

The article talks about the Downtown private sector's (as well as much of the rest of the City's) frustration with Rio Nuevo thus far and their seemingly sitting on their big pile of money.

I kind of wonder what the Rio Nuevo politicos do with their time. I mean, I've been to enough of these parliamentary style board meetings to know that basically nothing ever gets done at them, but we're talking about several years here with very little to show for it.

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i know, i know...couldn't resist. maybe hating on rio nuevo is getting stale. i'm in the yawn stage now.

thanks for posting the rundown. that's actually more than i thought had happened with RN. i didn't know the rialto was a rio nuevo project. i like your no. 6, though.

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thanks for posting the rundown. that's actually more than i thought had happened with RN. i didn't know the rialto was a rio nuevo project. i like your no. 6, though.
Edited by colin
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Yeah, but then it was brought back in the '90's and had a different-bodied cousin the Beretta.

My first car was a Beretta, and I can only hope that Rio Nuevo's new branding works better than it did.

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lol - my last car, before i got a decent one, was an '87 cavalier. i feel your pain, only worse.

i thought it interesting that many people, judging from the article, see the renaming as a veneer job that offers no promise of a more organized rio n- i mean, downtown redevelopment (DR, i guess, for short). sure, there may be real change to go along with the renaming, but the article didn't say much about that. until we know more, we're talking about a renaming and nothing more - certainly not a consolidation of DR leadership and more decisive oversight of funds; or a new approach to garnering private participation; or new, clear guidelines for partnerships with developers & business interests. that would be real change, imho.

i want to see ANYone involved in appropriating this money draw a pyramid chart that outlines the life cycle of a successful DR project from birth to completion (or death; take your pick). what groups must approve of what before it goes on to the next step; at which points community input will make or break a project; what private partners must invest and how much they can invest before having too great a stake in a project, etc. as of now, i don't think there's a clear notion of that hierarchy in anybody's head.

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Taxpayers may foot part of bill, about $50K a year

Skrappy's is a Downtown all-ages venue where teenies listen to their teenie music, abstain from drugs and alcohol (for the most part) and smoke lots of cigarettes outside. Kind of Tucson's best offering of a youth center.

It ran into some problems last year when a Phoenix gang came down to cause trouble. There was a fight inside, which spilled to the street and, funny enough, one of the gang members was shot and killed by a kid who retrieved a gun from his car after being chased and slightly beaten.

Moving it to La Placita doesn't really make any sense, but it would be nice to have some nighttime activity on that end of Downtown. But this is yet another nail in the coffin on the idea of turning that stretch into a really upscale environment with a convention hotel (Hotel Arizona + major renovations) and restaurants (already there). La Placita publicly shows films on Thursdays during the summer. I went to Holy Grail last year, and it was actually pretty cool because you can bring in your own food and sneak in alcohol.

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