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Tucson CC Approved for $65M Renovation

The Rio Nuevo board, a Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) funded by a share of Arizona sales tax dollars, unanimously accepted a list of priorities for a $65 million renovation plan for the Tucson Convention Center. The package of improvements, upgrades and additions throughout the convention center campus includes work on the main convention complex, the Tucson Arena, the Leo Rich Theater, the Tucson Music Hall and Eckbo plaza and fountain.
The next steps include securing financing for the project, selecting a contractor and sending the list to the Arizona Legislature and the Tucson mayor and city council for approval. Built in 1971, the Tucson Convention Center needs the upgrades to compete for convention business, says Glenn Grabski, general manager of SMG, the company that operates the convention center.
The list of improvements includes:
Current commitments—$8.2 million
  • Replacement ice plant for the hockey rink – scheduled to be completed in September
  • A 350-spot parking garage near the northwest corner of Church and Cushing streets, construction scheduled to start in Spring 2020
  • Adding 45 parking spots throughout the complex
Convention Center priorities—$14.7 million
  • Renovation of South Exhibition Hall, convention spaces, existing meeting rooms, restrooms
  • Lighting upgrades to the Arena
  • Upgrades to streetscapes and connections throughout the campus
  • Restoration and improvement of Upper Eckbo Plaza – includes a splash pad and new sidewalk and landscaping
  • High-speed data infrastructure throughout the Convention Center
  • Meeting Room expansion
  • Adding 18,000 – 20,000 square feet of meeting space on the west side of the Ballroom and South Exhibit Hall
Entertainment Priorities—$26 million
  • 634-spot parking garage west of the Music Hall
  • Renovations to Music Hall – seating, restrooms, lobby, lighting, sound, green room, offices
  • Outdoor patio for Music Hall
  • Upgrades to restroom, lobby, lighting and seating in Leo Rich Theater
  • Eckbo plaza – restoring the fountain, sustainability enhancements to the irrigation system, and upgrades to the Central Plaza and North Walkway landscape and sidewalks
Other items under consideration:
  • Restoration of the Sosa-Carrillo House and museum
  • Stabilization and repairs to the foundation and stucco, upgrading drainage
  • Creation of outdoor plaza and designated parking area, expansion of the patio
  • A second ice rink for community use

Rio Nuevo is a Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) funded by a share of state sales tax dollars and held accountable to the Arizona State Legislature for use of the funds. In 1999 voters approved the creation of the District that allows TIF funds to be reinvested into the community to create a dynamic city center. In partnership with private sector developers, commercial lenders, real estate investment firms and others, Rio Nuevo invests in projects that expand the tax base and bring people and new businesses to downtown Tucson. For more info, visit https://rionuevo.org.

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