Rio Nuevo approves additional funds for retail development downtown

Rio Nuevo approves additional funds for retail development downtown

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Rio Nuevo Board has approved an additional $650,000 for two developers who are remaking the downtown Chicago Store into a retail center.

The additional money was approved because the scope of the project expanded after the developers purchased the building next door, the Gus Taylor building. 

The board had already approved $1.4 million for the original project which had been confined to the Chicago Store only.

The vote was unanimous.

The store is within the Rio Nuevo Tax Incremental Financing District, which means the board expects to be repaid through increased sales taxes which the retail stores will generate.

Developers are the President and CEO of Peach Properties, Ron Schwabe and the developer of the Arizona Hotel Marcel Dabdoub. 

Some of the retailers who have been mentioned are Cultivate Tucson and Duck and Cover, others are still not known.

"We have a number of tenants who have committed to the space," said Schwabe. "I'd like to tell you some of the tenants waiting in the wings, you'd get real excited."

Due to ongoing contract negotiations, the names will not be released at the present time, but Schwabe expects some stores will be open in the fall.

The building is being gutted and retrofitted for retail now. It is the final piece to the downtown puzzle which began almost a decade ago.

First came the nightlife followed by housing. Nearly 2,000 housing units are under construction or soon will be. Retail is the final piece and Schwbe says now is the time for that.

"Downtown Tucson is really coming around," he said. "It's just exploding."

In another deal, the Rio Nuevo Board signed an agreement purchasing 7.8 acres of property west of Interstate 10 at Congress to build the Caterpillar Headquarters for its surface mining operations.

It also approved terms to build the $43 million headquarters which it will lease to Caterpillar. 

The board also hired SmithGroup JJR, an Arizona company with 160 years of history, to be the architect.

Sundt Construction has been named the general contractor.

The board also approved $400,000 for the Arizona Bowl Downtown Party, it was the same amount as last year.  A report from AZ Bowl officials shows that hotel occupancy in Tucson during the AZ Bowl increased 16 percent this year, on top of the 20 percent in 2016.

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