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Tucson Considers $1.1M to Fix Marist building

By Darren DaRonco for the Arizona Daily Star

The Marist College, a three-story adobe building just behind St. Augustine Cathedral, is crumbling in spots due to water damage. The city will weigh whether to use $1.1 million in block-grant funding to help stabilize the exterior.
Photo Credit: A. E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star

The city of Tucson may help save a nationally recognized downtown landmark. After years of deterioration, the Marist College building is in danger of collapsing.

On July 10th, the City Council will discuss giving about $1.1 million of Community Development Block Grant money to stabilize the structure.

“This is a significant historic building. … It’s the tallest structure in Arizona built of unfired adobe brick,” said city Housing & Community Development Department Director Albert Elias.

The structure, built in 1915, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Most Endangered Historic Properties in Arizona.

Elias said the building still maintains some structural integrity and if the city provides federal block-grant money to repair the exterior and secure the building, it could attract a developer willing to invest in and restore the historic building.

With its prime location across from the Tucson Convention Center and with an entrepreneur considering reopening the Samaniego House restaurant, a new tenant in the Marist College building could transform the west side of downtown into a vibrant destination, Keith said.

But the city’s historical preservation officer, Jonathan Mabry, said there are measures in place to protect the city.

“In exchange for the public funding, the city is obtaining conservation easements on the facade,” Mabry said. “What that means is, the city literally owns the exterior of the building for a specific term.”

Read more at AZStarNet