TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There is new hope for one of Arizona's most endangered historic places.
The vacant Marist College building located in downtown Tucson is the largest and oldest adobe structure in the state. It was almost demolished, because it was deemed unsafe.
Right now, drivers who pass by it on Church Ave. across from the Tucson Convention Center can see beams holding the building up.
Today, the Rio Nuevo board voted to invest $350,000 into the Foundation for Senior Living's restoration project which is set to restore the building and transform it into low-income senior apartments for those 62 years old and older.
The Marist College building would house eight apartments. The project also includes 75 more apartments in a new seven-story building that would replace the existing Tucson Catholic Diocese Offices located just a few steps away at the corner of Broadway and Church.
"It gives us the points we need to give us a better chance of low-income housing tax credits," said Stephen Hastings who works for FSL.
It is a major step forward after many years of failed attempts to save the building and give it a makeover.
Tucson News Now talked to some seniors about the proposed plans. Many think the location is great, especially with its proximity to the El Rio Community Health Center, the streetcar, and the Armory Park Senior Center.
"There are a number of seniors who would be interested in living downtown because of all the amenities available," said Ted Cooper.
However, it's not a done deal yet. Those close to the project say Rio Nuevo's support is a major step forward to making it a reality and diversifying downtown's redevelopment movement.
If all goes as planned, FSL's goal is to break ground next year and have seniors ready to move in by spring 2018.
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