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Marriott is opening a new hotel in Tucson's tallest building

Marriott is opening a new hotel in Tucson's tallest building

One South Church

The Marriott Tribute brand hotel will have 145 rooms. Its developer, Scottsdale-based Opwest Partners, was granted an eight-year moratorium on property taxes by the Rio Nuevo board.

Tucson’s tallest downtown building will soon be home to a boutique hotel and restaurant that spills out onto the patio.

The developers of the hotel, on the first nine floors at 1 S. Church Ave., have signed on with the Marriott Tribute brand, a collection of unique hotels throughout the world without the cookie-cutter look.

The ground-floor restaurant will be open to the public with patio seating, said Tyler Kent, managing director of the hotel’s developer, Opwest Partners, based in Scottsdale.

“We want this restaurant to be the heart and soul of Tucson,” he said.

Developers are still in negotiations with several restaurant concepts.

The hotel will have 145 rooms, boasting the proximity to the Tucson Convention Center and streetcar, Kent said.

The Rio Nuevo board in 2019 agreed to eight years of insulation from property taxes using the Government Property Lease Excise Tax tool and for site-specific sales tax revenue sharing of up to $1 million.

Developers project the hotel to reach $1.6 million in tax revenue in years four through nine and $2 million annually after 10 years in operation.

Renovations for the yet-to-be-named hotel are expected to begin in January, and the hotel will be ready for guests in December 2022.

The floors above the hotel space will remain offices and the local owners will continue to manage that operation.

The 23-story One South Church building was built in 1986.

Continuous growth

Downtown Tucson has seen a flurry of hotel activity in recent years, with several new openings.

Earlier this year, the DoubleTree by Hilton Tucson Downtown Convention Center opened its doors.

The six-story, 170-room hotel at 280 S. Church Ave. features meeting space, a second-story pool, two bars and a restaurant on the ground floor.

There’s also the 76-room Hampton Inn and a 123-room Home2 Suites, which were built in a six-story structure on South Stone Avenue between Ochoa and Corral streets, across the street from St. Augustine Cathedral.

Those new additions joined the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown Marriott with 136 rooms, a sixth-floor pool deck, and a lobby bar. At the time, the AC was the first hotel built in downtown Tucson in four decades.

A report released earlier this month by the state Office of Economic Opportunity predicted a strong rebound for the leisure and hospitality sector of the economy, which was hit hard by the COVID pandemic.

In just the two months between February and April 2020, total employment dropped by 146,600 jobs. That’s more than 43% of those working in the industry.

It has recovered somewhat, though it still remains about 25,000 below its pre-COVID peak of 336,200.

The report predicts that employment at hotels and resorts will grow at the rate of 3.7% a year between now and the end of the decade.

The Tucson City Council approved a massive downtown redevelopment project in 1965 that leveled businesses and neighborhoods to make way for the city-county government complex, the TCC, Music Hall and La Placita Village.

Contact reporter Gabriela Rico at grico@tucson.com. Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services contributed to this story.


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