Tucson, AZ (January 18, 2023) – The Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation is pleased to announce the successful closing of two significant real estate transactions. The transactions mark a major step forward in realizing a bold vision for a potentially transformative redevelopment of the corner of Congress Street and Stone Avenue.
As part of a larger expansion plan, December 28th the Foundation closed on the purchase of the historic Fox Tucson Theatre at 17 W Congress from Rio Nuevo downtown redevelopment and revitalization district, along with the Arizona Star Building and 30 N Church Avenue (the organization’s administrative offices), and a strip of property connecting the two buildings (the theatre’s loading dock).
The foundation acquired the theater from Rio Nuevo for $100 and spent $2.74 million ($317 PSF) to buy 1 W. Congress St., and the properties along Stone Avenue immediately adjacent to the historic theatre. The new acquisitions include 1 W. Congress (the now unoccupied, former Bruegger’s Bagels downtown location) and 13, 17, 25 and 27 N Stone Avenue (three empty storefronts and the current location of Rae’s Place Downtown Market), connecting Congress north along Stone Avenue to the Bank of America building.
At its December 7 meeting following a year of planning and research, the Fox Board of Directors unanimously approved moving forward with the property purchases. At the same meeting, the Board authorized launch of the quiet phase of a capital campaign aimed at raising an initial project budget estimate of roughly $21 million over a 3 – 5-year campaign. The immediate funding goal is focused on meeting a generous two-million-dollar matching pledge challenge offered by Rio Nuevo. The Board has engaged Alexander|Carrillo Consulting to lead the quiet phase of the capital campaign, expected to unfold over the next 12 – 15 months. Long-time Tucson fundraising experts Laura Alexander and Phoebe Chalk-Wadsworth bring decades of experience to the project and will work closely alongside Fox Board and staff.
Fox officials have estimated the total price tag for the expansion could top $21 million, most of it raised through donations including a $2 million matching gift from Rio Nuevo.
“We’ve set forth a bold vision,” said Fox Board President Brent Davis, “one that we believe will secure the legacy of the Crown Jewel of Tucson as not only an iconic, historic building; but, also as an enduring, flagship arts organization at the heart of downtown Tucson.” With this plan, the Fox will be capable of better serving the needs of current audiences as well as the generations to come with greater artistic program diversity, next level patron services, dynamic food and beverage experiences, and much more; all in ways that complement and extend what the Tucson community loves about the irreplaceable historic treasure.
“The opportunity to purchase these adjacent properties presented a once-in-a-lifetime, seize-the-day moment to invest in the long-term future and ultimate sustainability of the Fox,” said Fox Board Expansion Committee Chair Nancy March. “We were thrilled to receive such an enthusiastic response from so many when the initial concept was presented in October.”
Since then, the Fox Board and staff leadership have been focused on finalizing this pivotal property acquisition phase. With the properties now acquired, the project can move ahead with next steps. Immediate project priorities include active fundraising, ongoing work with stakeholders to refine program use plans, advancing the preliminary conceptual renderings into more concrete stages of design development, and additional reviews, input, and a recommendation for approval of the design by the Tucson/Pima County Historic Commission.
The seller was BC Limited, LLC of Tucson c/o Swain Chapman, member. Erik Chapman of Chapman Management Group represented the seller. Swain & Associates are the Architects for project.
"The time feels right time for this project dowtown," Swain Chapman told us. "The Fox Theatre Foundation will be great stewards of the property and we believe it will become the cornerstone of downtown Tucson when completed."
To learn more, see RED Comp #10399.
PHOTOS: Architectural renderings of proposed expansion of Congress and Stone for the Fox Tucson Theatre. (Courtesy of Swain & Associates)