TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A change in the landscape and skyline of Fourth Avenue WILL move forward.
The council voted 5-0 Tuesday night, April 17, to approve the ordinance to re-zone and build a 160-foot apartment building.
An overwhelming majority during the public hearing worried it would be a domino effect. Building high-rises in an area where some of the tallest buildings are about 20-feet.
But the plans will move forward to put the 160-foot complex in place of Maloney's Tavern.
City officials told Tucson News Now the new development will comply with 4th Avenue height requirements. The storefronts in the parking lot will only be 30-feet high, about three stories. However, the high-rise apartment will back up against the railroad tracks.
The public hearing had mixed opinions on the benefits.
"Like Broadway, 4th Avenue is one of the gateways to downtown. A signature project like this sends a strong message to folks that are interested in Tucson," said Mark Irvin, Rio Nuevo Board Member.
"4th Avenue is not the doorway to downtown. 4th Avenue is the epicenter of this community," said Fred Ronstadt, with the 4th Avenue Merchants Association. "It is the heartbeat of Tucson. It's the soul of the Old Pueblo."
There were some concerns about any added parking in an area already hard-pressed for spaces.
As it stands now, the developers are not required to build spaces, other than one space per unit and spaces for the specific shops they put on the property.
How soon will the 4th Avenue character change? According to city officials there is a 30-day waiting period, to see if any appeals are filed with the Pima County Superior Court. After that the permits can be filed.
BACKGROUND: This is a redevelopment of a site consisting of a former warehouse constructed in 1917, which is a contributing building in the National Register District: Warehouse Historic District, with an adjacent non-contributing accessory structure and a surface parking lot. The proposed project includes the demolition of contributing and non-contributing structures, the vacation of a portion of Herbert Avenue and the consolidation of four parcels (including the vacated portion of Herbert Avenue) to create a single parcel that will incentivize mixed-use development. The contributing structure, the warehouse, is dilapidated, largely unsafe and vastly underutilized. It is not individually listed on National or Arizona Register of Historic places, nor is it designated as a City Historic Landmark.
The City of Tucson Historic Preservation Office has granted permission to demolish the structures, pending full, photographic documentation of the MAYOR & COUNCIL COMMUNICATION MAYOR AND COUNCIL COMMUNICATION REZONING – PUBLIC HEARING CITY MANAGER'S REPORT ORDINANCE ADOPTION C9-18-01 Partners on Fourth PAD – 4th Avenue and 8th Street I-1 and C-3 to PAD (Ward 6) Page 2 of 6 APR17-18-125 contributing warehouse. The documentation shall be reviewed and approved by the Historic Preservation Office prior to demolition.
Parking will be single or multi-story level depending on geometry of the parking. The PAD proposes to park residential uses one space per dwelling unit, and provide 35 parking spaces for proposed 10,000 square feet of commercial space. The Infill Incentive District requires zero parking for commercial uses, and residential uses are required to provide one space per unit. Access is provided from Stevens Avenue which is a right-in, right-out only given it is a one-way (northbound) street. Full access is provided north of the site along 8th Street and to the east along 4 th Avenue. A drop-off/pick-up area is also provided at the north portion of Section A to help encourage residents and visitors to utilize ride-share services.
The protests generally allude to concern for a large scale development, changing the character of 4th Avenue, lack of parking for the area, traffic congestion, and an increase in rent costs.