Tucson’s Money Monster

The city of Tucson is back to square one, likely burying an arena project with a price tag that has blossomed to almost $200 million.

The Tucson City Council voted unanimously last year to fund a new, 12,300-capacity arena, but costs were not to exceed $130 million, according to the Arizona Daily Star. The council is expected to take up the issue in April but in the meantime, everything’s back on the table – including renovating the Tucson Convention Center.

The cost of the new downtown arena has climbed to an estimated $166 million, but the Daily Star added another $25 million to $30 million for infrastructure and other costs, like furniture.

Council members told the paper they were ready to review the situation, saying the arena cost is too high for public funding.

Mayor Bob Walkup has rejected the idea of renovating the convention center, saying it’s been obsolete for years. Meanwhile, Tucson businessman Bruce Ash said the convention center was "awful" and urged the city to reject calls to redevelop it.