Tucson Arena Plan Approved

Officials in Tucson, Ariz., approved a $190 million downtown arena and upgraded Tucson Convention Center project April 4th, just a few days after a local businessman pitched his own plan for an arena and entertainment center in the same area.

The city plan includes a $130 million, 12,300-capacity arena, with a design inspired by a desert tortoise shell with hospitality suites, box seats and club seats. The other $60 million would go toward expanding the facility and converting the existing Tucson Arena to convention space.

The city is also looking into adding a new or renovated downtown hotel, which will generate future revenue toward paying down the arena debt, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Downtown property owner Allan Norville’s pitch was a public-private venture. It included plans for an arena of roughly the same capacity as the city proposal, hotel development and a $20 million exhibition center for the Tucson Gem Show, which he is involved in through his company. Norville had reportedly enlisted HOK as the project’s architect, the paper said.

Financing for the city’s arena project would come from $550 million in downtown redevelopment funds approved by the state.

TCC Director Rich Singer told the paper he expects the number of events at the facility to go from 80 to about 130 through additional concerts and sporting events.

The city council’s next step is to open up the request for proposals for the hotel and work out a contract with a developer for the arena, the paper said.