Chairman McCusker shared that Rio Nuevo is back to pre-pandemic sales tax revenue and the requests for new construction in downtown are stronger than ever. “We are seeing one-to-two hotel operators per week along with multi-family developers and restaurateurs. Besides the requests for new development, the Board is also seeing movement on older proposed developments that have been on hold.

“Buckle your seat belts,” said Chairman McCusker. “We are really going to be busy in the next year, two years.”

Ross McCallister
The Rio Nuevo Board welcomed new Board Member Ross McCallister.

Ross McCallister’s experience in all aspects of real estate is most powerfully leveraged in his leadership of construction and business development. He brings more than 30 years of experience in operations including acquisition, investment analysis, financing, project management, and client relations.

Ross is a licensed general contractor. He is past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Multi-Housing Association, past Chairman of Metropolitan Tucson Housing Commission, and past Chairman of the Office of the Governor’s Arizona Housing Finance Authority Board. Ross currently serves on the Pima County Real Estate Research Council.

He is a guest instructor at both the University of Arizona and New Mexico State University where he enjoys the chance to interact with students who have the desire and determination to succeed.

He feels passionate about making our community better and giving back is something he models daily. Ross and his wife, Patty, enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle in Tucson, Arizona. A proud father and grandfather, he enjoys spending time with his family.

“We welcome Ross to the Board,” stated Chairman McCusker.
“Thank you to Governor Doug Ducey for a wise choice that will add a tremendous amount of real estate and finance experience to our efforts to revitalize Tucson’s downtown.”

The Citizen Hotel

The Rio Nuevo Board unanimously voted to invest in the Citizen Hotel, a 10-room, boutique hotel that renovated the 113-year-old Tucson Daily Citizen Building at 82 S. Stone Avenue. The $500,000 commitment included an 18-month rent subsidy to bring Sand-Reckoner Vineyards to the project. Sand-Reckoner, a local winemaker with vines in Willcox will occupy the basement as a winery, wine tasting venue, and retail space.


The Board unanimously authorized the executive officers to complete negotiations with HighWire on Arizona Avenue to open a new restaurant and event space. This space will be adjacent to their very successful cocktail lounge with entrances off Arizona Avenue, the alleyway immediately east of the property. The Board tabled a $230,000 request to enhance and improve the adjacent portion of Arizona Avenue.

Rio Nuevo Property Adjacent to Presidio Museum

The Board authorized counsel to complete leases in order to activate the Rio Nuevo-owned property adjacent to the Presidio Museum, located on Church Avenue, now that the renovation of the property is complete.

Friedman Block and Solot Plaza Block

Finally, the Board authorized counsel to prepare the documents required to solicit private sector partners for the Solot Plaza Block and the Friedman Block, located in the Sunshine Mile District along the newly widened Broadway Boulevard.

Related Projects

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