The Rio Nuevo Board this week approved a plan to facilitate the reopening of the Hotel Arizona while also advancing two other hotel projects: The Moxy at the Depot Plaza and The Caliber Hotel at the Tucson Convention Center.
The Board’s incentives are very similar for each project and include the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District’s portion of a state sales-tax rebate program for each property.
The Board’s actions occurred at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday and could add as many as 560 hotel beds downtown, with 430 beds adjacent to the Tucson Convention Center, home of the Tucson Roadrunners ice hockey team.
“The effort to get the Hotel Arizona reopened has been a major focus of the Rio Nuevo Board for more than six years,” said Board Secretary Mark Irvin. “This 300-plus-room hotel, with 30,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, is adjacent to the Tucson Convention Center – the Rio Nuevo District’s primary component – and is a key to its success.”
According to the proposal by Hotel Arizona’s owner HSL Properties, HSL and its investors will invest $20 million to renovate the hotel, which has been closed since 2012. HSL anticipates reopening the project as a Hilton-branded hotel by January 2019, in time for the Tucson Gem Show.
Rio Nuevo will acquire title to the property and lease it back to HSL for 25 years.
Board member Edmund Marquez called the action “a big deal.”
“I think we are the largest city with a convention center and no hotel,” he said. “This is a defining moment for Tucson and downtown.”
In other action, the Board approved intergovernmental agreements with the City to efficiently utilize public funds by remediating landfill from City owned parcels adjacent to the Caterpillar project and by extending Avenida del Convento at City expense all while utilizing the already mobilized skills of Sundt Construction.