Church & Congress Development

Mat Snapp, a member of Barter and Shake cocktail entertainment company, which has developed some of the most popular and highly ranked bars in Phoenix, has partnered with local entrepreneur Brandt Hazen. They have acquired all the restaurant properties west of The Fox Theatre on the north side of Congress.

Their vision is to increase traffic to the western end of Congress by remodeling this area to add a street-level coffee shop, second story residential lofts and to launch two entertainment/cocktail venues in the now unused basement. One of the bars will mimic a moving Pullman train dining car, Platform 18, and the other an adjacent New Orleans apothecary shop, Grey Hen. Check out the videos of the concepts below.

With over $9 million of private sector dollars budgeted, Rio Nuevo committed $1.5 million as incentives to accelerate the development.

Country Home Block Development

The Rio Nuevo board then unanimously approved an entertainment complex to transform the former Country Home store and adjacent store fronts on East Broadway. Nate Ares and the Ares Collective announced plans to build an array of eating establishments, a boutique bowling alley, a fully functioning brewery, a large shared outdoor patio area and a Social House within The Sunshine Mile.

With a construction budget of $5.1 million coming from the owners of Prep and Pastry, Flora’s Market Run and Commoner and Company, Rio Nuevo committed to $1.25 million of cash and sales tax rebates to accelerate the project.

Chairman McCusker acknowledged at the start of the meeting that in the last year Rio Nuevo has enabled 19 new restaurants with a taxpayer contribution of $10.5 million dollars and private developer contributions of $44.7 million dollars.


The board also approved the TruXperiance contract for digital services and augmented reality apps at the Tucson Convention Center. This will bring the convention center into the forefront of digital capabilities.

Valet Parking

The board also voted to renew the two downtown valet parking locations for another year citing the continuing need to provide this service to the patrons accessing downtown businesses.

Chairman McCusker Quote of the Month

McCusker stated: “In the last few months Rio Nuevo has partnered with the leading restaurant groups in the Southwest: Grant Krueger, Daniel Scordato, Nathan Ares, Zack Fenton, Freddy Elmesselmani, Ari Sharpiro, Amanuel Gebremariam, Ray Flores, Antonio Nunez of Las Vegas, Patricia Schwabe, Scott Stiteler, Es Teran and Maria Mazon, Rocco DiGrazia, Brendan Scott and Ronnie and Christian Spece for new or expanded restaurants. Just last month Travel and Leisure Magazine identified Tucson as the sixth best food destination in the US. Rio Nuevo is a big part of that recognition”.

Related Projects

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