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Tucson's 'emerging' downtown sees growth in key areas

Tucson's 'emerging' downtown sees growth in key areas

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Downtown Tucson showed significant growth in residents and economic activity since 2010, ranking it as an “emerging downtown” among 24 cities studied in a new report by the International Downtown Association.

The group’s Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities: Second Edition report lists Tucson among 10 cities with emerging downtowns.

Other cities include Durham, North Carolina; El Paso, Texas; and Wichita, Kansas.

Those cities had scores that averaged 1.7 percent of each city’s land area with an assessed average value of $1.5 billion, among other key economic attributes.

The study judged cities’ downtowns based on their economy, inclusion, vibrancy, population growth, identity and resilience.

Tucson was one of 11 cities added to the initial study in 2017. The downtown Tucson area studied is generally bounded by East Mabel Street on the north, Euclid Avenue on the east, 29th Street on the south and Grande Avenue on the west.

“Though relatively small in total land mass, Downtown Tucson provides a significant economic and community impact,” said Kathleen Eriksen, president and CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

The report can be found accompanying this story online and at

Some key findings for Tucson:

  • Downtown Tucson recorded a 5 percent increase in residential population from 2010 to 2018, to more than 15,000 residents, while the city overall grew 2 percent and the regional population rose 4 percent.
  • The number of downtown residential units increased 5.3 percent from 2010 to 2018, to reach more than 700 units downtown in 2018.
  • The downtown area generates more than $26 million in property, hotel and sales tax, outperforming other areas based on its land area.
  • Sales tax revenue downtown increased by 66 percent from $3.1 million in 2010 to $5.6 million in 2017.
  • The number of residents downtown with a bachelor’s degree or higher is almost 40 percent, significantly higher than 25 percent citywide and 30 percent across the region.
  • Downtown has higher scores for people who walk, use mass transit and ride bikes, with 13 percent of downtown residents who bike to work compared with 3 percent of city residents and 2 percent of residents regionally.

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