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  • Outlet center could generate $89 million for County for wildlife corridor

    Dec 18, 2013 | Read More News
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    If a proposed 100-plus store outlet center is built at Avra Valley Road and Interstate 10, it could generate $89 million for Pima County over 30 years under a development agreement amendment approved by the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 17.
    AWE Talisman
    The $89 million will be targeted for improving an important wildlife corridor between the Tortolita and Tucson Mountains. In addition, the developer will create a 30-acre wildlife area and a recreational shared-use trail along the Santa Cruz River sooner than the County could have funded and constructed them.

    The amendment is a result of a proposed change in ownership and use of the 100-acre property on the southwest corner of Avra Valley Road and I-10. The unincorporated property is in an area surrounded by the Town of Marana.

    The original owner, I-10 Avra Valley Mining and Development LLC, is expected to sell the property to AWE Talisman, a shopping center development and leasing company that owns outlet centers in Las Vegas, Santa Fe and Chicago.

    Pima County Development Services has already approved AWE’s Development Concept Permit for the outlet center. AWE expects to start construction in the summer of 2014.

    The original development agreement required a developer to pay the County 2 percent of certain revenues generated by its development over 20 years for costs associated with improving the wildlife corridor.

    The uses of the property at the time of the original agreement were expected to include a mix of industrial, office, retail and/or hotel and to generate up to $36 million for the County over 20 years.

    The amendment extends the collection period to 30 years and says that the County will share the enhancement revenue, now projected at $123 million in total, with AWE to compensate AWE for the public improvements it is agreeing to build and for 3.5 acres it is conveying to the County.

    The public improvements – 30 acres of wildlife habitat, two miles of river park from Avra Valley Road to Twin Peaks Road, and road, water and wastewater improvements – are expected to cost AWE $33.1 million, including borrowing costs over 20 years.

    According to the amendment, the County will use its share of the enhancement revenue to maintain, improve and enhance the wildlife corridor and plant and wildlife diversity in and between the Tucson and Tortolita Mountains.

    This is one of the last remaining locations for wildlife to move between the two mountain ranges. The County has been acquiring land in the area to protect the corridor and working with a number of other agencies and organizations to develop a plan for how to improve the corridor over the long term.