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  • Proposed 20-story office building a great addition to downtown

    By Dr. John Moffatt
    Economic Development Director

    As you may have heard, a national developer has proposed a 20-story office and retail building under development downtown called 75 E. Broadway. 

    This proposed mixed-use building would stand in the center of downtown on a County-owned parcel at Broadway and Scott Avenue that currently serves as a surface parking lot. Needless to say, we’re incredibly excited about this project and what it would bring to downtown and the region in general. 
    John Moffatt
    The Rio Nuevo District deserves a great amount of credit in moving this plan forward. Rio Nuevo was instrumental in developing the RFP that attracted the developers of the 75 E. Broadway proposal. If any incentives are proposed, they likely will be offered through the Rio Nuevo District, which has more of these economic development tools at its disposal. 

    At Pima County Economic Development, we set our sights on job creation. That’s our primary objective and one of the things that has us so excited about this project. 

    A proposal like 75 E. Broadway provides jobs in multiple ways. First, the undertaking of construction for a building this size is immense, providing jobs for hundreds of workers over the course of construction. 

    Next, those companies that move into the building – which include retail, restaurants and traditional office tenants – employ potentially thousands of workers. Because of the premium location and per-square-foot costs, we anticipate seeing many high-wage employers attracted to the office space in 75 E. Broadway. 

    A building of this size also requires management staff, security personnel, parking lot attendants, janitorial and maintenance workers. All of these people are working, providing for their families and contributing to the regional economy. 

    While the jobs associated with this project are the most important factor, 75 E. Broadway also provides other benefits. 

    It’s been more than 30 years since any large-scale, modern Class-A office space was built downtown. The most recent was the One South Church building at Congress Street and Church Avenue, which was completed in 1986. 

    Under the current proposal, a completed 75 E. Broadway would provide 250,000-square-feet of new, Class-A office space. The square footage would be broken out primarily into 25,000-square-foot floorplates, an important feature as much of the available office space in the region is fragmented into smaller footprints. 

    The 75 E. Broadway project would help meet a need for modern Class-A space that many in the commercial real estate community have told us the region has been lacking. This has become particularly evident since Caterpillar chose Tucson as its worldwide mining headquarters. 

    We anticipate significant interest from outside companies and existing local companies with expansion plans as this project takes shape. While we don’t foresee a large exodus from existing local office buildings, some is likely to occur. When and if that does happen, it would provide the opportunity for capital improvements to be made to the aged existing office inventory or for the total redevelopment of some properties. 

    The 75 E. Broadway project also brings a much-needed increase to the retail market downtown. Developers envision a street-level retail alley concept along the length of the north face of the building. 
    Broadway model
    The retail area, along with other proposed retail spaces in 75 E. Broadway, would add 58,000-square-feet of new retail downtown. This comes at a time when we’ve seen the restaurant and bar scenes blossoming along with an influx of residential units in the area. 

    Equally important to downtown retail will be the 500 parking spaces included in the building. 

    We’re also encouraged by the forces behind the 75 E. Broadway project. Peach properties, who have invested heavily in downtown’s resurgence, has partnered with the national company JE Dunn Development. 

    The inclusion of a tested, nationwide company like JE Dunn Development stand as recognition downtown Tucson, and the metro region generally, have attracted outside interests who see future potential in our community. 

    The project already has attracted the interest of a tenant who would occupy 50,000-square-feet, with others expressing interest. JE Dunn intends to have at least 120,000-square-feet committed by September and anticipates construction to begin in Feb. 2019 with a completion goal set for August 2020. 

    Following that, the parcel would be sold to the developer and returned to the tax roll at a greatly increased value. 

    There’s a lot to be excited about with this project and what it provides for the downtown community. 
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