Tucson Selects Peach Properties Team for Ronstadt Transit

Peach Plan Showing Linear Transit Mall Concept (click to enlarge)
Peach Plan Showing Linear Transit Mall Concept

Following an Executive Session Tuesday, the Mayor and Tucson City Council publicly announced the selection of Peach Properties to enter into negotiations with the City to develop the Ronstadt Transit Center, a mixed-use project with transit on a 4.7-acre key downtown site.

The City-owned site currently is utilized as the Ronstadt Transit Center and two parking lots. This selection is consistent with the unanimous recommendation to Mayor and Council of the project evaluation committee, comprised of members representing bus riders, downtown businesses and neighborhoods, the development community, and City departments.

The Peach Properties proposed project features a transit mall integrated with a mix of residential, retail, commercial, and public space uses. The concept includes an open-air public market located adjacent to a newly-built transit mall and a Marriott boutique concept hotel on the corner of 6th Avenue and Congress Street.

The streetscape on both Congress and 6th will be activated with retail uses. The Peach Properties team is led by local developer Ron Schwabe and includes several equity partners, including Scott Stiteler.

The team includes local architecture firms Swaim Associates and FORS Architecture + Interiors, general contractor Ryan, and transportation/transit consultant HDR. Also part of the team is Melody Peters, the public artist who created the tiles that decorate the existing arcade.

The final project components, phasing, and design review process will be determined through a development agreement to be negotiated between the City and Peach Properties; reviewed by the Federal Transit Administration, which has a financial interest in the site; and approved by Mayor and Council.

The selection by the Mayor and Council is the culmination of a two-year process that included meetings with stakeholders to develop project goals, the issuance of Request for Proposal (RFP), public presentations of proposed concepts, and the formation of an evaluation committee to review and make recommendations to Mayor and Council on the submittals.

The City received two responses to the Phase I RFP which focused on team qualifications.  The two respondents were Peach Properties and the Alexander Company.  On December 16, 2014, the Mayor and Council, consistent with the Evaluation Committee’s recommendation, directed that both teams be invited to continue to Phase II, which required providing a proposed project design, with uses, schedule, and costs.

The two teams submitted proposals in June 2015, and on July 22, 2015, each team publicly presented its proposed project.  The public was invited to provide written comments during a two-week review period, and the two teams were asked to provide responses. See Real Estate Daily News July 24, 2015 for full story.

Staff anticipates bringing a preliminary development agreement outline to the Mayor and Council in the spring. Following direction from Council, a public meeting will be held to present the updated project concept and the Federal Transit Administration will be asked to begin their review of the joint development proposal. Mayor and Council direction included taking into consideration the Evaluation Committee recommendations regarding the development agreement and project implementation. Evaluation Committee Recommendations

The selected proposal and additional information on the process is posted at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/integrated-planning/ronstadt-transit-center-joint-development