Tucson Oddity: Asphalt parking lot rings empty patch of sand

2011-07-25T00:01:00Z 2014-09-01T17:13:33Z Tucson Oddity: Asphalt parking lot rings empty patch of sandCarol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 25, 2011 12:01 am  • 

There's a "ghost" at the corner of East Broadway and North Brown Avenue.

It's surrounded by black asphalt and gray concrete. There's not a single mortal in sight in this parking lot that surrounds an empty patch of Tucson sand.

"Why is there a parking lot for nothing?" one Star reader wondered in an email after driving past the peculiar property.

City Hall officials call it a "ghost development" - a subdivision project approved and started, but never completed.

In 2005, before the local housing market slumped, a now-defunct firm called Castro Engineering applied to build a residential development on the site, said Ernie Duarte, the city's director of planning and development services.

Plans approved by the Tucson City Council called for construction of 32 town homes on the 2.7-acre parcel at 45 N. Brown Ave., which was to be known as Jacaranda Village.

Work began not long afterward - and it seems a lot of money was spent.

Sewer and water services were installed. Sidewalks were built. More than 40 paved parking spaces were created in a lot that forms a large square around the perimeter of the town house lands.

But work stopped sometime after 2007, Duarte estimated.

An April story in the Star business section said the site's owner, Jacaranda Homes at Broadway LLC, had defaulted on a loan with an original principal amount of $985,000.

The property's title later was transferred to 45 N. Brown First Mortgage LLC of Phoenix.

"This seems to be another victim of our recession," Duarte said of the project. "It looks to be one of many sites that were started but didn't get finished."

Got an oddity?

Is there something you've noticed while driving through Tucson that has piqued your curiosity? Or is there some piece of Old Pueblo history you've wondered about? Drop us a line, and we'll look into it.

Call the Star newsroom at 573-4232 or send an email to oddity@azstarnet.com

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

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