A really bad deal gets worse for Tucson - Tucson News Now

A really bad deal gets worse for Tucson

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It has been said publicly and privately that the Thrifty Block/Talk of the Town/Bourn development deal is likely the worst deal the city made during the Rio Nuevo debacle.

Rio Nuevo has cleaned up its act and had begun to restore its reputation under the leadership of Fletcher McCusker.

Now, the city of Tucson is trying to purge one of its demons, a sweetheart deal gone sour.

In 2004, the city sold the Thrifty Block on East Congress to Bourn Properties for $100.

The company promised The Post. It put pretty pictures on display on what they said would be the centerpiece of the Rio Nuevo district.  A mix of retail, commercial and residential, a tax base and a showcase for city leaders.

The city was so confident of success, it paid $600,000 to tear down the old, Talk of the Town restaurant and scraped the land into a smooth pad for the new owners.

Except, nothing happened.

In 2006, the city entered into a deal with the developer to insure the property was developed.

Nothing happened.

Now, in 2013, nothing has still happened.

So the city had entered into another agreement to make sure the property is developed.

But there's no guarantee something will happen.

Ward Vi city council member Steve Kozachik says "we're trying to pull ourselves out of the last piece of crap the city got itself into."

He agrees the whole fiasco is an embarrassment and "I just wish I could see that this deal constitutes a way forward."

Under the terms of the deal,Bourn Properties must build something on the property or it reverts back to the city.

Because of a recent agreement, it actually reverts to Rio Nuevo, if the terms of the deal are not met.

But it also gives the developer the option of two one year extent ions.

"So we're basically giving the guy four years to make good," Kozachik says. "I don't know if I can agree to that."

In the end, he did. And so did everyone else.

We'll see if something happens this time.

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