by Jim Nintzel
The UA is working with private developers Jim Campbell and Peach Properties to build student housing downtown. This is a big deal and, if all goes according to plan, a win for downtown Tucson's revitalization efforts. The UA press release:
The UA is moving forward with two proposals that could provide housing for approximately 1,200 students along the Modern Streetcar line by 2013. The projects will expand the University's presence downtown.
The University of Arizona has selected two development teams as potential partners to build much-needed student housing along the new Modern Streetcar line in downtown Tucson.
Both teams submitted proposals in response to a University RFP for public-private student housing partnerships that was issued last year.
The University hopes to construct housing that would include roughly 1,200 student beds along the streetcar route by 2013.
"This new student housing initiative will further increase the University's community engagement while providing additional social and economic life to a renewed downtown redevelopment effort," UA President Robert N. Shelton said.
"The Modern Streetcar serves almost as a campus extension into the downtown area, with students, faculty members and visitors being able to move back and forth within minutes, and without the need for a car and all of the challenges it presents."
One of the selected proposals was submitted by the Capstone Development Corp. with local developer Jim Campbell and is located on East Congress Street at the North Fourth Avenue underpass.
A portion of the project is proposed to be constructed in conjunction with a city parking garage that is currently under construction.
The other selected proposal was submitted by local company Peach Properties and is just south of the Capstone project, at Fourth Avenue and East Broadway Boulevard.
Both of the projects likely would incorporate new retail facilities and benefit from other nearby downtown amenities. They also would be located close to a proposed streetcar stop.
These proposals add to the UA's ventures downtown. The University will offer graduate programs in the county's Roy Place Building at South Stone Avenue and East Pennington Street, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse will be adjacent to the Providence Building at Stone Aveune and Broadway Boulevard.
City and county support are integral to these projects.
"The City of Tucson and the University of Arizona share the same destiny. And we share the vision of downtown Tucson as the place where the city and the UA join together to build a brighter future for our region," Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup said.
"Today's announcement of hundreds of new UA residential units in the downtown is a big step toward implementing that vision. It will also help build th downtown economy and reduce the demand for mini-dorm housing in neighborhoods near the central campus."
University officials will work to complete affiliation agreements with the selected development teams, allowing the design and construction of the projects to proceed.
The UA is taking an innovative approach to public-private projects by actively providing student referrals and branding and marketing assistance in lieu of financial participation. In this manner, the developers can improve their project financing positions while the University avoids additional budget impacts.
The UA will continue to look for other financially feasible opportunities to grow its downtown presence.