Rio Nuevo continues to see increased sales throughout the District, leading to requests for assistance in growing or starting businesses.

The board received requests from two of Tucson’s longtime businesses for assistance in improving their facilities to accommodate and spur on post-pandemic growth.

Zemam’s “Bazaar on Broadway”
Longtime Tucson restaurant owners, the Gebremariam family who currently own two Tucson locations, are looking to create a new shared food and entertainment venue at their Broadway location.

The family and their architect presented to the Rio Nuevo Board a plan to utilize the two homes next to Zemam’s on Broadway, that are owned by the City of Tucson, to create a “Bazaar on Broadway”. This concept would not only house Zemam’s restaurant, but provide a venue to launch new food and drink concepts increasing Tucson’s already stellar food scene. The “Bazaar on Broadway” will also provide a facility for pop-up entertainment and local events. This new venue will have a shared kitchen and bar area, and an open air space for food vendors who can utilize the shared kitchen to help kick-start their business.

The board was very impressed with the presentation and select members will be doing a more in-depth study of the plan and report back to the entire board at a future meeting. Chairman Fletcher McCusker told the group “we will work hard to enable this to happen.”

Hotel Congress Updates
Hotel Congress returned to the Rio Nuevo Board Meeting to share an update on progress with the plaza improvements. They include a permanent stage, a shaded and mister cooled overhang, along with new restrooms on the Plaza. This Phase One is expected to be completed by their August 7th kick-off event.

The Hotel Congress Phase Two upgrade is the remodeling of the current Copper Ballroom area into the new “Century Room”, which will be a space for drink and food tastings, jazz performances, and additional restrooms for the hotel.

The Board unanimously approved giving Hotel Congress their remaining $300,000 funding to continue with these improvements which will only enhance the “heart” of downtown.

TCC Updates
The TCC upgrades continue on budget and on schedule. The historic Ekbo Fountains will be complete, with water, in early September and the new seats are being installed in the Music Hall next week to ensure the hall is ready for its first event on September 15th.

The new meeting rooms are on schedule for early January 2022 completion. The technology upgrades for the entire TCC are on schedule as well and will allow the TCC to develop a successful and long-term technology plan that attracts high-end technology events.

The construction of the new parking garage west of the Music Hall has been challenged by the weather but is still moving forward.

The board unanimously approved advancing $1.8 million to continue work on the historic plaza, technology upgrades, and a new walkway to Broadway Blvd.

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