by James Hudson
Demolition will begin today on three Arizona Department of Transportation-owned warehouses on Stone and 6th St. which are better known to the community as the former homes of the Downtown Performance Center (DPC) and the Mat Bevel Institute, as the removal of these beloved iconic properties represents the final phase of the twenty-year RTA Downtown Links Corridor project.
In a memo to the Mayor and City Council from Tucson Transportation Director Daryl Cole, as of March of this year TDOT notified the City of the pending demolition of three ADOT-owned warehouses once environmental remediation was complete and had been documented as part of the DLC project. The ADOT properties listed are at 530 N. Stone Ave, 510 N. Stone Ave, and 140 W. 6th St. The demolition is expected to be completed in three weeks.
The 530 N. Stone Ave building is particularly held near and dear to members of the music and art community, as it was used during the lengthy DLC delays as a home to the DPC and Mat Bevel Institute. During its heyday, the DPC was a hotbed of activity that fostered Tucson's disenfranchised youth. It celebrating a burgeoning local counterculture and featured countless local musicians and hosted then-obscure touring punk acts such as Green Day, Bad Religion and The Offspring, as well as regional Arizona bands like Malignus Youth.
Years after its demise, the DPC is still fresh on the minds of Tucsonans, as Malignus Youth recently held a highly attended reunion concert at the Rialto Theatre (in which they gave former DPC director Steven Eye a small portion of the show's proceeds), and a Facebook group entitled I Hung Out at the DPC (Downtown Performance Center) boasts nearly 1000 members.
According to Cole’s memo, the TDOT staff has been continuing to work on design and construction of the three-phase DLC project for which was this demolition was programmed into the twenty-year RTA plan. Phase I (8th Street Drainage improvements) was completed in May of 2012, and Phase II (St. Mary’s Rd. from I-10 to Church Avenue) was completed in April of 2014.
Phase III, the final and most complex segment from Church Avenue to Broadway, will be at 90% design completion by September, said Cole. “TDOT is coordinating several efforts to stay on schedule and meet the expectations of the community and the RTA to complete the project. One of those efforts is to acquire and remove buildings that are in the path of corridor construction.”
Cole said that the staff at TDOT spent much time working with the Downtown Links Citizens Advisory Committee (DLCAC), WAMO, ADOT, and other groups assessing the historic structure at 15 E. 6th St. for possible preservation. In the end, TDOT and ADOT staff determined it would require an extensive amount of structural stabilization which would require funding that is not available. ADOT did say that they were working with representatives of the DLCAC to salvage some of the valuable materials to be used in the future construction of Phase III.
Stay tuned to The Range for a more in-depth article on the DPC/Matt Bevel Institute and the fond memories of the space that Tucson’s art and music community share.