20-story mixed-use building proposed on Speedway and Campbell - Tucson News Now

20-story mixed-use building proposed on Speedway and Campbell

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -  
A proposal to build a 20-story mixed-use building near the University of Arizona campus gained momentum Wednesday night.

The City of Tucson Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve an amendment that moves the project forward for further consideration. The plan amendment now goes to mayor and council for review.

The proposed development would span about 2.5 acres in the northwest corner of Campbell Avenue and Speedway Boulevard where the Palm Shadows Apartments are currently located.

The building would include residential units, a major grocery store, office spaces and retail shops.

The project's applicants said its proximity to the Helen-Warren streetcar stop gives the building the potential to be a "transit-oriented development."

At question was whether the Planning Commission approved a recommendation to amend the city's University Area Plan. The UAP "promotes strengthening the identity and quality of the UA area consistent with city-wide and neighborhood goals," according to the Planning Commission's website.

If the amendment plan is adopted by mayor and council, the next step would be for the developer to apply for a "planned area development" rezoning over the property, which entails specific design and zoning regulations.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the development proposal on Wednesday. After a presentation from the project's developer, planner and architect, the Commission heard comments from the public.

Members of various neighborhood associations expressed concern over the height of the building, which at its tallest point would be 250 feet high, or 20 stories. The proposed policy states that only a percentage of the building would be 20 stories, while surrounding portions of it would be 12 or 10 stories high.

"There's a lot of concern about that and not just because visually it's very different, but because we're not convinced there's anything remotely like the kind of infrastructure we need to support this," said Diana Lett with the Feldman Neighborhood's Association.

The project's principal planner said the proposed development would be the first of its kind in Tucson.

"This is very much a threshold moment for the city. This is very much a seminal project. We're trying to do something that hasn't been done here before. It's always difficult because there are unknowns, there are impacts, there are a whole lot of things that need to be nailed down by the larger community, we understand that," Jim Portner said.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
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