Tucson council voted unanimously to demolish La Placita - Tucson News Now

Tucson council voted unanimously to demolish La Placita

(Source: KOLD News 13) (Source: KOLD News 13)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The entire Tucson City Council was in agreement when they voted to demolish the La Placita Plaza, and build a 246-unit apartment complex in its place.

An independent audit found the complex would generate $5.2 million in economic benefits during a proposed 8-year property tax abatement.

The abatement will cost the city $4.1 million meaning the city's net benefit would be more than $1 million.

The city council is being asked to approve a Government Property Lease Excise Tax or GPLET agreement requested by HSL.

The city has approved more than a dozen GPLET agreements in recent years which has spurred millions of dollars in downtown reinvestment which in turn has shown to be a benefit to the city.

All of the projects which are approved by the GPLET must undergo an independent audit. Even though the city manager has recommended approval, the project has at least one detractor on the city council.

Ward VI city council member Steve Kozachik said for a project to receive approval of the GPLET, it must show that without the tax abatements, the project would not go forward.

"This project does not meet that test," Kozachik said.

He said the idea of tax abatements is not to "enrich wealthy developers," but to provide an incentive to insure a project gets built.

HSL has already been issued eight demolition permits and is scheduled to begin tearing down the 1970s-era urban renewal project in May.

The city council can approve the deal, vote it down or delay it.

Even a delay would mean other council members are uncomfortable with the project and its future could be unsure.

"I'm only one vote," Kozachik said.

If the go-ahead it given, HSL would be required to preserve the stables, the Samaniego House for a new restaurant, and the Flin House for a coffee shop.

A city park on the property would also be maintained.

It's expected the apartments would bring 500 residents downtown.

Construction costs would be nearly $40 million and create 240 construction jobs.

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