Pima County Adds 341 Acres to Tucson Mountain Park


frick-property-photoThe Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the acquisition of the 276-acres known as the Frick property (William B. Frick & Christine F. Glass)  along with accepting a donation of a 65-acre property from Martha C. Hawes, both properties located along West 36th Street, south of the Starr Pass Resort development, along the eastern boundary of Tucson Mountain Park (see map below).

Starr Pass Resort revenues will be used for the Frick land acquisition, a $2.075 million ($7,518 per acre) purchase plus $10,000 in closing costs. The 65-acre donation by Hawes, shown in purple on the map, is valued at $1.086 million. The donation is conditioned upon the County having granted Hawes a Life Estate, permitting Ms. Hawes to continue to reside there for the remainder of her natural life.

Since 2004, 17 different land owners have donated to Pima County’s Conservation Lands system, a total of over 2,000 acres valued at over $12 million dollars.

Both properties will be managed as part of the Tucson Mountain Park and the informal trails that exist across the property becoming a more sustainable trail system that connects to the Park trail system.

According to the County Administrator, Chuck Huckleberry, public benefits to the expansion of Tucson Mountain Park will include protection of scenic views, expansion of the recreation area, conserving a segment of Enchanted Hills Wash, and mitigating for public works projects under the Section 10 permit and newly approved Multi-Species Conservation Plan. The property falls within the Multiple Use Conservation Lands System and includes a Riparian Area.

The Starr Pass Environmental Enhancement Fund will be used to pay for the Frick acquisition. In 1988, the County entered into a development agreement with Star Pass Resort for the development of the JW Marriott Star Pass Resort, built along the eastern boundary of Tucson Mountain Park. As part of the agreement, the resort donated over 200-acres to the County to expand the Park, provide trail access, and also entered into a revenue sharing agreement whereby the resort remits to the County an Environment Enhancement Fee equal to 2% of room charges and other purchases by the guests and users of the property for a period of 20 years. Collections started in 2005 and now in year 11, the County has received $3.6 million and project revenues of $790,000 for this fiscal year.

The Fisk property was identified by the County as eligible to purchase with 2004 bond funds, however at that time, the owner had expectations of selling it at a considerably higher price, having been offered $4.14 million by a homebuilder with a conceptual plan for 366 homesites on portions of the property. That deal was terminated during the due diligence period when improvement costs of the hilly terrain did not meet expectations of the developer.

The County’s appraisal valued the 276 acres at 1.6 million while the seller’s independent appraisal valued the property at $2.55 million. The purchase price was arrived at by negotiation between the parties that resulted in a price midway between the two appraisals. With $375,000 down, the seller agreed to carryback a note at zero interest in order to facilitate the County’s purchase.

The Starr Pass Environmental Enhancement Fund is to be spent on expanding and enhancing Tucson Mountain Park, with priority given to acquisitions that conserve important natural areas between the Park and the Santa Cruz River. It was these revenues that helped the County also acquire the Sweetwater Canyon a 187 acre expansion of the Sweetwater Preserve in the eastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains.

Jim Marian of Chapman Lindsey Commercial Real Estate Services in Tucson represented the Frick family in the transaction.

For additional information, Marian should be reached at 520.747.4000 ext. #106.

To learn more see RED Comp #4137.