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Rio Nuevo redevelopment district extension waiting on governor's approval

Rio Nuevo redevelopment district extension waiting on governor's approval

Downtown Building

The Rio Nuevo board backed the 20-story proposal downtown, which will include 250,000 square feet of office space and a 500-space parking garage downtown along East Broadway.

The future of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Taxing District sits on Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

A bill to extend the life of the redevelopment agency synonymous with downtown Tucson by another 10 years to 2035 has passed in the Legislature and is now waiting on Ducey’s signature.

Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker was optimistic that Ducey will sign the legislation, noting that Ducey and other state lawmakers have recently toured downtown Tucson to see firsthand the progress the district is making.

The extension does come with a few strings attached, including requiring the taxing district to make regular progress reports to the Legislature as well as report on any sizable projects under serious consideration.

Additionally, any property still owned by the taxing district in 2035 would revert back to state control when Rio Nuevo is dissolved.

The district has been involved in getting projects of all sizes approved, such as the new Caterpillar Inc. headquarters west of Interstate 10, the Marriott AC Hotel downtown and a new hotel planned near the Tucson Convention Center. Its latest big project would bring one of the tallest buildings in Tucson to a site along East Broadway between Sixth and Scott avenues.

In 2010, the Legislature seized control of Rio Nuevo, which at the time was run by the city of Tucson, because of financial mismanagement. A new board was appointed to oversee the district, which is funded by taxes generated within the district. Board members are now appointed by the Legislature and governor.

Before being taken over by the Legislature, Rio Nuevo had spent $230 million in its tax-increment money with little to show for it, according to Star archives.

The district’s boundaries include development on the west side of Interstate 10, downtown and along a portion of East Broadway.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at or 573-4197.

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Joe has been with the Star for six years. He covers politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona. He graduated from the UA and previously worked for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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