Rio Nuevo OKs 20-Story Tucson Office Plan

Courtesy of Rio Nuevo

By AZBEX Staff for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

The Rio Nuevo Board voted this week to enter negotiations on a final development agreement for what could be one of downtown Tucson’s tallest buildings.

According to Rio Nuevo’s announcement, Todd Freed, VP of construction for JE Dunn Construction, told the board the potentially 300-foot-tall building his proposes to create on the parking lot at Broadway and 6th Avenue could contain 250KSF of office space, 40KSF of retail space and 500-600 parking spaces.

It will be the first Class “A” building downtown since the Tucson Electric Power building across Broadway from the parking lot, Freed said.

The project is expected to cost $110M and will generate 1,250 new jobs and $2.2M annually in sales tax, he said.

Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker called the proposal “an extraordinary plan” but explained that the Rio Nuevo Board was using a government procurement process to develop the parking lot and that unless and until a final agreement is executed the deal will not be done.

The board issued a request for proposals last year, and JE Dunn’s was ranked highest, the announcement said. The board will work with JE Dunn, Pima County and the City of Tucson to craft a final development agreement.

According to an article in the Arizona Daily Star, Freed noted the building size could be reduced if there isn’t a market for the project as currently planned. The article also noted Freed told the board JE Dunn has partnered with CBRE to identify potential tenants and cited CBRE’s David Volk as saying the project, tentatively known as 75 Broadway, will have 10 floors dedicated as office space, two or more floors for retail and restaurant use and the rest used for parking.

Volk told the Star he anticipates major prospective tenants will appreciate occupying entire floors of the building in unified spaces. “For years, the lack of larger floorplates has kept some of the most desirable corporate users from opening offices in Tucson,” Volk said.

Downtown developers Marcel Dabdoub and Ron Schwabe are expected to partner with JE Dunn on the development, according to the Star.

Caterpillar Update

The board also approved the last phase of Sundt Construction’s construction of Caterpillar’s Tucson Mining Center and payment to Sundt of $8.5M. The center is expected to open in the Q1 of next year. McCusker congratulated Sundt for carrying out the project “under budget and on time.”

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