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.
Our mission is to revitalize downtown Tucson to create a vibrant, urban environment where residents and visitors can live, stay, work and play, allowing us to compete with cities like Austin, Portland and San Diego for citizens and tourists seeking an urban destination: safe, walkable, artistic and fun, complete with great food and music.
Rio Nuevo Funding
Rio Nuevo funds are generated from a portion of state sales tax from businesses in the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District. The District boundaries include the west side of I-10 at Congress Street, downtown Tucson and Broadway Boulevard to Park Place Mall.
These state funds – currently set by Arizona legislature to be collected through 2035 – are managed and invested by the Rio Nuevo Board of Directors, appointed by the Arizona Governor, state Senate president and speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.
Driving Investment & Development
Rio Nuevo is an economic engine and a city builder that drives jobs and long-term growth by helping defray the steep costs of major projects: new development and property improvements that will benefit Tucson in the long view but come at a price today.
Those costs too often act as barriers, blocking great ideas from ever getting off the ground. Rio Nuevo helps overcome those barriers, as it has or will for recent, current and planned projects, including:
- Providing the land, site preparation and building for Caterpillar, whose Tucson offices will create 600 regional jobs and drive $600M in economic impact
- Partnering with Bank of Tucson and development group Bourn Companies, LLC, on the five-story City Park project, a retail, restaurant, office and entertainment building planned for downtown’s Congress Street at what is now the site of the U.S. headquarters of Hexagon Mining
- Partnering with Greyhound Lines, Inc., to build a new terminal at the southeast corner of Broadway Boulevard and Euclid Avenue
- Partnering with the Gadsden Company to build 15,000 square feet of new retail, restaurant and community space at Mercado San Agustin, off Congress Street west of downtown
- Partnering with the Phoenix Coyotes to bring professional hockey to the Tucson Arena, now home of AHL’s Western Conference champions, the Tucson Roadrunners
- Partnering with Marriott International and developer Scott Stitler to build the new AC Hotel Tucson Downtown at Broadway Boulevard and Fifth Avenue
- Partnering with the Catholic Diocese of Tucson to renovate downtown’s Cathedral Square, restore the Marist College and add a tax generating restaurant on the Cathedral grounds
- Partnering with restaurants Hub, Playground and Elvira’s to enhance the downtown dining experience, which now offers 85 restaurants and more on the way
- Partnering with the City of Tucson and Pima County Regional Transportation Authority to restore 39 properties along Broadway Boulevard and create destination food and shopping corridors flanking downtown.
The Changing Heart of Tucson
If you’ve lived in Tucson for any length of time, you’ve witnessed the remarkable transformation of downtown. This is the work of Rio Nuevo: urban investments benefiting the entire community, region and state, attracting even greater activity.
In fact, the most recent data from the Arizona Auditor General shows that every $1 of Rio Nuevo support yields $10 of privately funded investment in Tucson’s future.