The CCIM Chapter of Southern Arizona held is first meeting of the year to a sold out crowd at Tucson Association Of Realtors. The many new members and sponsors who have joined for 2014 were recognized and the new committee leaders. James Robertson, CCIM with Realty Executives, the 2014 President, recognized the many achievements of last year’s president, David Blanchette, CCIM with CBRE by awarding a plaque for his service.
The featured speaker at the luncheon was Tucson City Council Ward 6 member, Steve Kozachik, recently re-elected to his second term.
The atmosphere in the room of commercial real estate professionals was one of anticipation to hear of progress being made at the City for improved business opportunities and jobs. Kozachik spoke of the great momentum that has begun in the Tucson Downtown core. “With $60-80 million in vertical construction, the new improved working relationship between the City and Rio Nuevo, $30 million improvements at the University of Arizona’s McKale Center all adds up to a positive momentum for the new year,” according to Kozachik.
Kozachik is hopeful the state legislature will also get on-board with the City for film making incentives this year. Tucson recently incentivized film making with a 75% tax rebate in an effort to lure filmmakers back to Tucson, and are providing other incentives for film production. The incentive will be given to films with a production cost of at least $2 million and include a free rent discount on City-owned or City-operated property (such as the Tucson Convention Center, owned by Rio Nuevo). Kozachik is hoping there will be sequels and perhaps a TV pilot for the film Hot Bath and a Stiff Drink that was filmed here in January 2012 and brought $2.5 million to the economy.
The other major goal for Kozachik is for the City to get behind expansion of commerce with Mexico, expanding direct flights to Hermosillo, MX for tourists. The Port of Tucson was mentioned, having recently received a $5 million grant. See full story here: The Port of Tucson where rail meets the road
Kozachik’s final goal for 2014 is to get the City’s fiscal house in order, with many long term debt obligations such as the City pension fund and the modern street car coming due, Kozachik believes the employee compensation increase recently agreed by the Mayor and Council will be revisited in budget discussions.
To a question from the audience asking that if there was “institutionalized mismanagement at the City, and what was being done about it,” Kozachik expressed his own disappointment in the decision that resulted in the loss of vendor spaces at the Spring 4th Avenue Street Fair due to streetcars testing and a drainage improvement project by the Army Corp of Engineers and Pima County Flood Control District. Kozachik’s response was, “City management needs to play better together and that he would continue to make headlines and publicly expose the Council’s decisions to get better decisions.” For more details, read the City Memorandum on 4th Avenue Street Fair here: 4th Avenue Street Fair Memo dated 1/10/2014
The City’s stated opposition to the Rosemont Mine was questioned, and whether or not there had been any polling done on Rosemont to determine the will of the people. Kozachik was unaware of any polls on this issue, but added the City is no longer a part of the decision making on Rosemont Mine, since Rosemont has already been accepted for their water permit.
When asked about the status of the RTA Broadway Corridor widening project, voted in 2006 to widen roadway to six-lane arterial, plus two dedicated bus lanes, and sidewalks from Euclid Ave. to Country Club Road, clearing an additional 150′, to the north of the current road, to be added to the roadway. Kozachik is not in favor of the Broadway widening project and said, “The design was based on 1987 traffic studies which projected significant growth in traffic along Broadway that hasn’t materialized.” Since 2012, there has been a Citizen Task Force formed to study the project. This task force is about 6-months away for conclusion and then it will go back to the City and RTA for a decision.
The CCIM Chapter of Southern Arizona’s next monthly meeting will be the much anticipated Annual Forecast Meeting to be held at the University Marriott on February 11, 2014. For more information and/or to register for this event, click here.