Rio Nuevo approves Arizona-based architects and contractor for Caterpillar Surface Mining & Technology Tucson facility

After a competitive selection process, the Rio Nuevo Board has approved contracting with the Architectural Team of SmithGroupJJR + WSM to design the new building for Caterpillar’s Surface
Mining & Technology Division.

Rio Nuevo simultaneously approved the selection of Tucson-based Sundt Construction, Inc. as the project’s general contractor.

SmithGroupJJR, ( of Phoenix, is a 160-year-old national architecture and engineering firm that has created a legacy of inspiring places that enhance the environment and enrich the human experience. Among its most significant projects are Phelps Dodge Corporate Headquarters, the renowned Chandler City Hall, Salt River Tribal Government Complex, Microsoft Sales & Health Solutions Group Offices, the GoDaddy Global Technology Center, the White House Visitor Center and hundreds of award-winning projects around the globe. SmithGroupJJR chose to partner with WSM Architects as their Local Liaison and boots on the ground because of their long history in the Tucson market and commitment to the community. WSM Architects, Tucson (, has a rich history of designing some of the city’s best-known projects, including Tucson Fire Central headquarters, Tucson Police Department Forensic Crime Lab, and Sundt Tucson Headquarters.

Sundt Construction, Inc. ( is one of the country’s largest and most respected general contractors. The 127-year-old firm specializes in transportation, industrial, building and concrete work and is known for its commitment to quality and innovative approach to construction services. Sundt has 10 offices throughout Arizona, Texas, California and Utah and is 100 percent owned by its approximately 1,600 employees. In 2016 it was named the nation’s safest construction company by the Associated General Contractors of America for the second time in a decade – an honor no other contractor can claim. Sundt’s charitable arm, the Sundt Foundation, recently crossed the $7.6 million mark in donations made to hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the country. Sundt established its corporate headquarters in Tucson in 1929 and since then has completed more than $2 billion worth of work in the Tucson area, including more than 40 projects in and around downtown. The company was instrumental in the expansion of the University of Arizona, constructed Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, and has completed projects for many notable companies including Raytheon, Sony Electronics, Dial, American Airlines and American Express.

Caterpillar announced Tucson as the new centralized hub for the Surface Mining & Technology Division in 2016 and accepted Rio Nuevo’s offer to build a new building and lease it back to Caterpillar. Located on the west side of Interstate 10, adjacent to Tucson’s origins, Caterpillar’s new 150,000-square-foot building will house approximately 600 company engineers, product development and support positions working on the next generation of mining equipment, vehicles, and technology.

“We had a great response to our request for proposals,” said Fletcher McCusker, Rio Nuevo
Board Chairman. “The iconic Caterpillar project deserves the best team and that’s what we have.
We are especially happy to work with Arizona firms.”

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