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  #21  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2005, 7:47 PM
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They have to realign the lanes and sidewalks, and most likely remove the divided gap in the median as well. Who knows what the final product will ultimately look like at this point, but alterations are being made.
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  #22  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2005, 7:52 PM
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Is it just me, or does that photo look like everyone was just plucked out of the 1980s, early 90s and thrown into 2005?
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  #23  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2005, 10:42 PM
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The future itself is already plucked.
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  #24  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2005, 1:18 AM
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Tucson could certainly use an iconic structure for its struggling downtown and Rio Nuevo project. It certainly won't be in the form of an office or hotel tower any time soon, and this gateway bridge/science center could provide a true identifying landmark for the city.

As the metro area population approaches the one million mark, is Tucson ready to step into the future with vision and imagination as a vibrant urban center, or will it be content to remain in the sleepy, sprawly Old Pueblo mode?

Last edited by kaneui; Oct 1, 2005 at 3:04 AM.
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  #25  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2005, 1:24 AM
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Let's hope not the latter.
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  #26  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2005, 3:23 AM
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More Tucson-related development:

I read a few days ago that Starwood is launching a new hotel brand called "aloft", a downscale version of the W Hotels, and Tucson will be one of the five cities to get the first ones. (And not even a mention of it in the Daily Star.) http://development.starwood.com/aloft_popup.php

Any rumors as to where it might be? You think they might be really daring and build it, say......DOWNTOWN? LOL

With Gen-X business travelers as their target market, I would guess they'll put it somewhere around UA to pick up the university/medical school travel business. (Probably not the foothills or airport areas.)

Last edited by kaneui; Oct 1, 2005 at 3:29 AM.
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  #27  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2005, 12:17 PM
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Yea, and this: http://www.welcometowhotels.com/aloft/index_flash.html

Looks nice.

I'm thinking it's going to be along Skyline in the Foothills-area, possibly near Westcor's new La Encantada shopping plaza ... ?
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  #28  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2005, 4:38 AM
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Speaking of bridges, here's a public art project the City of Phoenix plans for the Arizona Canal at 24th St. (near the Biltmore). It's called Water Reveries.
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  #29  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2005, 6:17 PM
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Rio Nuevo is quite the project, but the east side of the 10 doesn't provide enough residential to balance out everything else.

In fact, most of the Rio Nuevo project seems to be a grand revitalisation scheme similar to what downtown Phoenix has seen over the years to little success. Arenas, offices, and retail shops don't revitalise an area--people do. This is decidedly absent in at least the east half.
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  #30  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2005, 10:08 PM
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But back to the bridge itself, the importance of an iconic structure for Tucson is the coolest proposal that's come to that city in a long time, hell, since the UofA was first conceptualised in late nineteenth century. Depending on how the city is zoned around it, the I-10 corridor and downtown would be ripe for high density residential development with the views it could offer. It'd be like a Golden Gate Bridge framed by mountains instead of the ocean.

I've always thought Phoenix should have a signature structure of some sort, but it's cool that Tucson is seeing such vision. Indeed, the city could find its place on the map like the Gateway Arch defines St Louis.
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  #31  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2005, 10:59 PM
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You're right, combuchan--Rio Nuevo needs a stronger residential component. Urban residential development can be tricky, however, and often gets caught in the proverbial chicken-and-egg conundrum: prospective residents want certain amenities in the way of culture, retail, restaurants and nightlife before moving in; yet those very businesses and institutions are often hesitant to commit to an area without a substantial residential base to support them.

For successful urban development--particularly redevelopment--there must be a compelling and viable vision, and a sufficient number of developers, entrepreneurs, civic leaders and citizens that believe in and support that vision and are willing to risk the necessary political and financial capital to make it happen. To date, Tucson's Rio Nuevo vision hasn't created much consistent momentum, although the tide may be starting to turn.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Tucson is at a crossroads regarding its urban future, as numerous issues, including the worsening traffic congestion and the cost of basic infrastructure for the ever-expanding suburban sprawl, are already forcing the question. (see the 5 Trends Tucson? study: http://www.tucsonaz.gov/planning/res...ns/5trends.pdf)

Perhaps the Rio Nuevo plan for a strong urban core is premature: Phoenix's population is nearly four million, and they have yet to achieve a strong commercial and residential core downtown. But Tucson has never been nor wanted to emulate Phoenix, and any modern urban core it creates should be far different in both flavor and scope than its neighbor to the north.

As a result of the city's prior redevelopment efforts and the lack of much visible progress to date, they are plenty of naysayers about Tucson's prospects of ever having a thriving downtown again. However, as the area's rapid pace of growth continues, I would hope that civic and business leaders, as well as the community at large, begin to acknowledge and address the increasingly urban needs of a metropolis with nearly one million residents.
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  #32  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2005, 4:22 AM
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Re: Starwood's new "aloft" brand hotel slated for Tucson...

This week's online "Inside Tucson Business" reports Starwood saying that the hotel will be on a company-owned property, with the paper speculating that it might be the Four Points Sheraton at Broadway and Campbell, which would then be remodeled for a reopening in 2007.

So, maybe there won't be any new construction for this hotel after all...
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  #33  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2005, 7:56 AM
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Not the worst location, but that still seems like an odd spot for the hotel overall.

Regardless if it's ultimately new construction or not, it's still a positive thing that Tucson was chosen as one of the first 5 cities.
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  #34  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2005, 12:06 AM
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Yes, particularly since Tucson lacks much in the way of upscale accommodations in and around downtown. Hopefully, the remodel of the Santa Rita will at least provide a nicer boutique hotel.

And speaking of hotels, it appears that Rio Nuevo is no longer talking about building a new city-financed hotel as part of the expanded Convention Center . If they were going to proceed, the owner of the downtown Radisson (the only large hotel downtown) was threatening to convert his hotel to condos and build more condo towers on his site, since the hotel isn't making any money now, and he sees another new hotel as direct competition in a very weak market.

So for now, it seems that Rio Nuevo is supporting an expansion and redevelopment of the Radisson as the main "headquarters" hotel for the convention center. I would think that any immediate expansion of downtown's hotel inventory would be very questionable--at least until the new arena and convention center expansion are approved, and there are a few more commercial office towers to draw in business travelers.
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  #35  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2005, 1:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade Reynolds
Is it just me, or does that photo look like everyone was just plucked out of the 1980s, early 90s and thrown into 2005?
Hey, that's twenty years better than where Tucson is, developmental and infrastructure-wise.
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  #36  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2005, 10:24 PM
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For those of you interested in downtown Tucson, Rio Nuevo has a new, revamped website: http://www.ci.tucson.az.us/rionuevo/
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  #37  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2005, 10:34 PM
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Thanks, much nicer than before.

I like the maps.
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  #38  
Old Posted Oct 7, 2005, 11:22 PM
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Downtown Tucson hotel sheds Radisson affiliation

http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/business/96681.php

Tucson's downtown Radisson is now the Hotel Arizona. The article suggests that the owners want a more upscale and "edgier" hotel as they prepare to add another tower or two on the property. (The proposed towers are listed as Diamond Rock Plaza East and West in the SSP Tucson profile.)

Although the owners announced the expansion plan in February, it will hinge on the city's decision to build a new arena, expand the convention center, and possibly build a separate convention center hotel.
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  #39  
Old Posted Oct 8, 2005, 11:34 PM
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The irony in all these redevelopment schemes is that if Tucson never did anything, it would be sitting on a gold mine today. The convention center was built on the site of the city's old barrio, and when it was torn down in the late 60s, Tucson lost the chance to be as cool as Santa Fe. Yes, there's still some of the old barrio left south of Cushing Street, and it's extremely valuable real estate. but imagine having something much larger. Tucson is still fortunate to have what it does, but the missed opportunity is yet another cautionary tale in our zeal to be ahistorical and deracinated.
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  #40  
Old Posted Oct 9, 2005, 6:52 AM
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Yes, soleri, the city's downtown "redevelopment" of the 70's was an unfortunate chapter for Tucson's barrios. (Probably even more irritating to displaced residents since it basically failed to revitalize much of anything, and left a major "dead zone" in its wake.)

I'm not sure Tucson would ever be cool like Santa Fe is, or was (although Sedona is trying real hard), as the population surge and sprawl that started in the 50's sent the city in a whole different direction.

But, maybe the city fathers can atone for a few of their original downtown sins by creating more barrio-style neighborhoods like the upcoming Mercado District at Menlo Park with its Cultural Plaza, all part of Rio Nuevo's plan for west of I-10. www.mercadodistrict.com

It won't replace the original structures and neighborhoods that are long gone, but will hopefully restore a small semblance of authenticity to Tucson's historic downtown.

Last edited by kaneui; Oct 9, 2005 at 7:04 AM.
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