TUCSON, Arizona — Don Diamond, Tucson’s largest local land developer and philanthropist passed away Monday at the age of 91, leaving behind a priceless legacy in Pima County.
Diamond is survived by his eldest daughter Jennifer Diamond, ordained as a reform rabbi, who lives in Sun Valley, Idaho; his daughter Helaine Levy and grandchildren: Nathan, who is with Diamond Ventures in Denver; Carly, who is working on her MBA in sports business management at the University of Alabama; and Gabby, a senior at Tulane University in New Orleans. His sister Joyce Eskwitt of New York also survives him.
His wife Joan preceded Don’s passing on December 28, 2016, after being married for 64 years.
Well-known philanthropists, in 2010, Don and his wife Joan, donated $15 million to build Diamond’s Children’s Hospital, as part of a $184 million medical center expansion at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson. This is but a sampling of Diamond’s widespread generosity and philanthropic work throughout our community.
Born in New York, Don first came to Tucson in the 1940s as a student of the Brandes Boarding School that was located where Best Buy stands today, across from the Park Place Mall.
He left and later returned to attend the University of Arizona after finishing high school on the East Coast and serving in the U.S. Army Infantry during WW II.
He attended the University of Arizona from 1947 to 1949, where he met his friends and business partners of 50-plus years as well as the love of his life, his wife Joan. The young couple then returned to New York where Don worked as a commodities dealer.
In 1965, at the age of 37, Don retired from Wall Street and returned to Tucson with Joan and their three daughters: Helaine, Jennifer and Deanne.
Too young to truly retire, Don soon became the largest private land owner in Pima County, he loved Tucson and bought whatever land he could. There wasn’t much competition for land back in the ‘60s. But he saw the potential and had a vision to the future.
Upon news of his passing, Gov. Ducey issued the following statement Monday:
“Arizona is saddened by the loss of Don Diamond. Genuine, generous, and respected by all, Don displayed a deep love for Arizona and commitment to Tucson dating back to his earliest days. Through his business and real-estate career, Don — possibly more than anyone else —helped develop Arizona’s metropolitan areas into the growing cities they are today. He will also be remembered for his extensive philanthropic efforts, which included supporting causes such as promoting higher education, expanding access to children’s healthcare, and protecting natural habitats. No doubt, Don’s legacy will have a lasting impact on Arizona for many years to come. Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the entire Diamond family during this difficult time.”
Diamond Venture was established in 1988 to expand Don’s land acquisitions and add management and development services. The company continues operations with about 20 employees. Late last year DVI Venture Capital was added.
Diamond’s current and past real estate development projects include:
A 5,300-acre master-planned community offering 8,300 homesites, commercial development, golf entitlements, school sites, extensive bike and trail systems and ample open space and neighborhood parks, located near Lake Pleasant in Peoria, AZ, within the Phoenix metropolitan area.
A 4,800-acre master-planned community offering 6,100 homesites, commercial development, golf entitlements, school sites, abundant open space, parks, hiking and equestrian trails, located at the base of the Rincon Mountain Range adjoining Saguaro National Park East in Tucson, AZ.
A 3,000-acre master-planned community offering 9,900 homesites, commercial and industrial development, schools, parks and natural open space, located in southeast Tucson, AZ.
A 2,120-acre residential project with 710 homesites, offering abundant natural open space, located southeast of Tucson in Benson, AZ.
A 716-acre master-planned community with 1,376 homesites, a 400-multi-family unit housing site, a school site and abundant open space, located in Tucson, AZ.
A 155-acre builder neighborhood with 550 homesites, K-8 school with a 7.5-acre park located in southeast Tucson, AZ. Featured Builders: KB Homes, Lennar and Richmond American Learn more about Mountain Vail »
An exclusive community with 222 estate homesites, located in the Santa Cruz river valley near the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson in Sahuarita, AZ. Learn more about Stone House »
An exclusive community offering 100 custom homesites with breathtaking views of the Mogollon Rim located within the premier Rim Club golf community, north of Scottsdale in Payson, AZ. Learn more about Rim Club »
An exclusive community offering 42 custom homesites, with panoramic mountain views, situated within the red rocks of Sedona, AZ. Learn more about RimStone »
An exclusive enclave offering 37 custom homesites, nestled within the prestigious, uniquely landscaped Stone Canyon golf club community, located north of Tucson in Oro Valley, AZ. Learn more about Stone Canyon »
A 2,000-acre master-planned community with 6,000 homesites, commercial development, active open space, pedestrian trails, bicycle paths, a 10-acre lake, schools and parks, located in Casa Grande, AZ.
A 758-acre master-planned community with 1,800 single family homes, commercial development, natural open space, sports fields and courts, a K-6 school, park and hiking trails adjacent to Saguaro National Park West, located northwest of Tucson in Marana, AZ.
A 250-acre builder neighborhood with 483 homesites and natural open space, located in east Tucson, AZ.
A 220-acre builder neighborhood with 733 homesites, a central 7.5 acre neighborhood park, and soccer and baseball fields, located in Tucson, AZ.
A 160-acre builder neighborhood with 619 homesites, community amenities, neighborhood swimming pools and sports facilities, located in Tucson, AZ.
A custom-lot community with 298 homesites, dramatic city and mountain views, lush desert scenery and natural open space, located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, AZ.
A custom-lot community offering 304 homesites and spectacular views of the scenic Santa Rita Mountains, located south of Tucson in southern Pima County, AZ.
A custom-lot community offering 109 homesites situated atop a ridge, offering breathtaking views of the Catalina Mountains, located north of Tucson in Oro Valley, AZ.
Tucson Mountain Reserve
A custom-lot community offering 124 homesites, located adjacent to the Saguaro National Park West in Tucson, AZ.
A custom-lot community offering 99 homesites in a secluded gated community, adjacent to Coconino National Forest with superb views of the towering red rocks in Sedona, AZ.
An exclusive gated enclave of 61 estate homesites, high in Tucson’s Catalina Foothills adjacent to Coronado National Forest, offering dramatic city and mountain views, located in Tucson, AZ.
Houghton Town Center
A 118-acre regional retail center, anchored by Walmart Super Center easily accessed from Interstate 10, located in the growing southeast Tucson trade area. Learn more about Houghton Town Center »
A 12-acre retail/business park adjacent to the Silverbell District Park and Library, serving a large family community with easy access to Interstate 10, located northwest of Tucson in Marana, AZ. Learn more about Riverside Plaza »
Scottsdale Crossing at Calendar Stick Office Park
A 72,000-square-foot, two-story professional office building with Telesphere and WJ Bradley as major tenants, located in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more about Scottsdale Crossing at Calendar Stick Office Park »
Rita Tech Park
A 220-acre freeway commercial/industrial development on Interstate 10, with 25 acres remaining. Located in Tucson, AZ, the property is adjacent to +/-6,500 employees from the University of Arizona Tech Park, the 500,000 square foot Arizona Canning facility and the 1,000,000 square foot Target.com distribution center. Learn more about Rita Tech Park »
Walmart at Tucson & Drexel Center
A 9-acre shopping center anchored by Walmart Neighborhood Market and Gas and will feature shop space and free-standing pads located in Tucson, AZ. Learn more about Walmart at Tucson & Drexel Center »
Tucson Airport Commerce Center
A 100+ acre retail/business park located near Tucson International Airport that consists of a Walmart Neighborhood grocery anchored center and businesses such as Intuit and Chamberlain, located south of downtown Tucson, AZ. Learn more about Tucson Airport Commerce Center »
5555 Tech Center Drive
A 146,215-square-foot, four-story Class A office building that includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Farmer’s Insurance and CH2M, located in Colorado Springs, CO. Learn more about 5555 Tech Center Drive »
A 83,058-square-foot, two-story office/flex building located in Englewood, CO. Learn more about 373 Inverness »
Nova Financial Plaza
A 91,000-square-foot, seven-story professional office building which includes NOVA Home Loans, United Healthcare, Fidelity Title and Bank of America as major tenants, located in Tucson, AZ. Learn more about Nova Financial Plaza »
Continental Reserve Professional Plaza
A 10-acre commercial/office/medical development with seven pads available adjacent to the Northwest Medical Center Urgent Care facility, located northwest of Tucson in Marana, AZ. Learn more about Continental Reserve Professional Plaza »
Rita Ranch Commerce Center
A 256-acre commercial/industrial business park with distribution facilities for Blue Bell and Direct TV, located next to Houghton Town Center in southeast Tucson, AZ. Learn more about Rita Ranch Commerce Center »
La Paloma Office Center
An 85,000-square-foot professional office plaza in Tucson’s affluent Catalina Foothills, anchored by Northwest Medical Center Urgent Care, Wells Fargo Advisors and Long Realty, located in Tucson, AZ. Joint Venture with Scotia Group.
Steam Pump Village
A 40-acre, mixed-use commercial/multi-family development that includes the 270-unit Encantada apartments, Basis Charter School, Chili’s, Holiday Inn, and four additional pads available in the growing and affluent town of Oro Valley, located north of Tucson.
Joint Venture with Evergreen Development. Learn more about Steam Pump Village »
A 100-acre commercial/industrial/multi-family site adjacent to a 166-acre FSP Solar facility, located in Tucson, AZ.
A 110-acre development near Tucson’s Northwest Medical Center campus, Encantada Riverside apartments and notable businesses as Afni, Sundt and Basha’s, encompassing three corners of an intersection in Tucson, AZ. Joint Venture with W.M. Grace Company Learn more about Riverside Crossing »
Rio Nuevo Professional Plaza
A 74,000-square-foot, two-story professional office building that includes GSA tenants US Census and Social Security, located in downtown Tucson, AZ. Learn more about Rio Nuevo Professional Plaza »
Embassy Suites at Paloma Village
A 119-room hotel in Tucson’s affluent Catalina Foothills, located within the high-end retail and office plaza, Paloma Village, in Tucson, AZ.
Joint Venture with Scotia Group.
Northwest Medical Center – Continental Reserve Professional Plaza
A 35,000-square-foot, build-to-suit urgent care facility, located northwest of Tucson in Marana, AZ.
Northwest Medical Center – La Paloma
A 28,000-square-foot, build-to-suit urgent care facility in the affluent Catalina Foothills, located in Tucson, AZ.
A 139,000-square-foot, build-to-suit customer service facility, located in Tucson, AZ.
A 19,000-square-foot, two-story professional office building with Russ Lyons Sotheby’s and Sunwest Bank as tenants, located near Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ.
Learn more about Woodlands Village »
A 6-acre, 169,000-square-foot, build-to-suit industrial complex, located in Tucson, AZ.
Villago Market Place
A 20-acre anchored shopping center, featuring Fry’s Marketplace, Ace, Chase Bank and McDonalds, located in Casa Grande, AZ.
Joint Venture with Evergreen Development.
An 11-acre retail/office/hotel development anchored by Embassy Suites, Fleming’s Steakhouse and CVS, located in the affluent Catalina Foothills in Tucson, AZ.
Joint venture with Scotia Group.
A 25-acre retail project anchored by Walmart Supercenter, Bank of America, Checker Auto and Fletchers Automotive, located south of Tucson in Sahuarita, AZ.
Joint Venture with Evergreen Development.
A 9-acre industrial freeway-oriented site with Jacobs Engineering, located in Tucson, AZ.
For additional information on Don Diamond’s legacy, see the Arizona Daily Star Monday March 25, 2019.