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Tucson’s Downtown Renaissance Could Be Worth $2.4B

By Stacy Naughton for Inside Tucson Business

Photo Credit: Hello Arizona

Photo Credit: Hello Arizona

Downtown Tucson may be embarking on a new economic boom. For the past five years, downtown has been experiencing a type of economic renaissance unlike anything before, according to Michael Keith, CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership, and it may just be the beginning.

With the economic uptick downtown, Tucson may be taking its place among other midsize cities to include Salt Lake City and Portland, but it may also become a contender with bigger cities such as Seattle and Denver.

Five areas of economic development

  1. Public investment of $600M has resulted in private investors plunking down $250M into the downtown area.
  2. Timing was right for Tucson. Keith said the majority of investment in the area has been from people that were either from Tucson or somewhere within the state.
  3. Downtown’s proximity to the University of Arizona was key, especially since UA is landlocked and needed a place to expand.
  4. Young, tech-savvy individuals wanting to start their own businesses are “flocking” to downtown, where other like-minded tech people are.
  5. Baby boomers returning to urban centers are looking for community, culture, convenience and acceptable transportation alternatives.

What’s next for Tucson downtown?

“From here on out we are going to see projects from $20M to $500M,” Keith predicted, adding that, “We … have done everything we can locally and the next phase will be regional or out-of-state developers.”

Recently it was announced that AC Hotels by Marriott may be coming to downtown, with construction possibly beginning in the spring of 2014. The $27M hotel, which is being developed by Scott Stiteler, would be located near the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

There are 63 lots to be developed [downtown], which account for 4M square feet of land, Keith said. If all of the lots are built multi-story, that could be 16MSF of real estate.

At $150 a square foot, if everything is built to capacity, Keith estimates that could bring in a total of $2.44B for the entire development over the [downtown] project’s lifespan.

Read more at AZStarNet