Tucson-based restauranter, Daniel Cordova and German Fuentes requested financial assistance from the Rio Nuevo Board at their Tuesday meeting. The pair have taken Tucson’s thriving food scene by storm and are now looking to further expand their operations. The Board unanimously approved their request for $450,000 to be allocated toward supporting four new downtown-area restaurants:

La Chingada Cocina
Relocate the current La Chingada into the former Café Poca Cosa building at 110 E. Pennington St, offering three times the seating capacity of their current location. “The team has created a great venue and atmosphere,” said Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker. Plans for the new location will increase the patio size and a remodel the bar area. Long term plans include opening store with Mexican “munchies” on the east end of the building. The new La Chingada Cocina will be opening sometime in November.
The Neighborhood
The second establishment will maintain ‘The Neighborhood’ concept inside the former H2O building at 61 E. Congress. This restaurant follows the same successful, food and drink model as the original location – but with 5,800 square feet on the ground floor and an additional 1,500 square foot covered rooftop bar.
The new rooftop bar will sport a state-of-the-art pergola covering that can accommodate coverage for any type of weather.
The Cordova-Fuentes team hope to have the inside venue open sometime in mid-December. The patio area will come later. A mid-December opening is slated for The Neighborhood.
The third concept will be Antojitos will focus on raspados, light food fare, and an indoor play area for kids.
Antojitos, Munch & Play will be located in the historic former Betty Gay Building at 125 E. Congress originally built in 1917, the building will need extensive renovation but will fill a niche the downtown area doesn’t currently have.
La Cruda Mariscos & Oyster Bar
The fourth restaurant will be La Cruda a mariscos and oyster bar which will take the place of the former La Chingada building at 31 E Scott Ave.
Daniel & German plan to remodel this location to fit the theme of the restaurant. They are hoping to open in mid-December.
FY2021 Audit Results
In other action, Beach Fleishman presented the 2021 audit report and complimented Rio Nuevo for a clean audit, employing well-established accounting principles, and knowledgeable staff. The final audit will be posted to the Rio Nuevo website.
For year end, June 30, 2021, revenue dropped significantly due to the pandemic but the District kept losses at approximately $450,000 by dramatically reducing expenses. Audit manager Lydia Hunter mentioned they see signs of recovery, especially in the most recent months.
HBO Brings Hollywood Back to Tucson
Rio Nuevo Chairman, Fletcher McCusker confirmed that Rio Nuevo has been in negotiations with HBO for incentives to film the series Duster in Tucson. Rio Nuevo has committed a little over one million dollars to attract a television series with a local budget of over $50,000,000 and an estimated 44,000 hotel nights during the ten-month shooting schedule.
“This is a huge economic development win for Tucson, especially in the context of the pandemic” said McCusker. Pima County, the City of Tucson, and the state also provided economic incentives. Dan Meyers, Rio Nuevo CFO, mentioned that HBO has helped put systems in place to track local spending.
TCC Update
The Board heard from Phil Swaim with Swaim & Associates about how things are moving forward on the TCC remodel.
Phil reported that the Tucson Music Hall is 90% finished and that it is being used regularly. They are waiting on a liquor license for the new outdoor venue at the Music Hall.
The refreshing of the lobby and restrooms in the Leo Rich Theatre are finished.
Lot C Garage is coming along quickly now with an April 2022 completion date expected.
There are some additional new video boards, ribbon boards, a Loge seating area, and a VIP lounge area all being done in the Arena. The new meeting room addition is also moving forward with interviews being conducted to a find a technology partner.
Everything except the Lot C Garage will be completed in time for the February 2022 Gem & Mineral Show.

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