The Rio Nuevo Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to solicit proposals and take the actions necessary to renovate and activate its long-dormant and historic “Duplex” to support activities at the adjacent San Agustín del Tucson Museum.

This action came in response to a request from the Museum’s executive director Amy Hartmann-Gordon, who advised that the Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation has obtained a liquor license and bids for approximately $450,000 for the renovation of the Duplex’s 1,400 square feet so that it could be used as restaurant, retail or event rental space. Hartmann-Gordon explained that the Trust has enlisted La Cocina, El Charro, the Tucson Museum of Art and Downtown Kitchen as partners in the project.

In other business at the Rio Nuevo Board’s regular monthly meeting:

  • Board Chairman Fletcher McCusker said Rio Nuevo had been approached about the possibility of adapting the Tucson Convention Center Arena for an Arena Football League team. While the team was not identified, McCusker called arena football an “incredibly exciting” indoor sport, and he noted that its spring/summer season would not conflict with the Tucson Roadrunners hockey schedule. Subject to the team reaching agreements with the league, the City of Tucson, the TCC and Rio Nuevo, the Board authorized its attorney to move forward with procuring up to $400,000 in capital improvements.
  • The Board also authorized the acquisition of a property along the Sunshine Mile portion of the Broadway corridor. Chairman McCusker explained that this parcel along with approximately 39 other adjacent or nearby parcels that the City of Tucson has acquired for its Broadway widening project will be developed and reactivated by Rio Nuevo through the issuance of one or more design-build requests for qualifications. The Board also voted to extend its agreement with Project for Public Spaces (PPS) to assist with the revitalization of these properties. PPS’s engagement will be to work with stakeholders and the public during this process.
  • The Board reaffirmed its long-standing willingness to take the actions necessary to assist developers Ron Schwabe and Marcel Dabdoub in their efforts to entice restaurateur Chris Bianco to open his restaurant in the property located at 123 S. Stone Avenue and directed the Board’s attorney to take the actions necessary to finalize this arrangement.

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