It's all a matter of perspective. Just because the construction industry has been happy to make their buck building all this new stuff doesn't necessarily mean we've created a sustainable community economy. That said, it could work. What the city seems to be hoping for: an enormous amount of new student housing is built basically all at once, with the hope that many, many thousands of new out-of-town students and their parents are drawn to the U of A because of this all-new happenin downtown & streetcar to the U (which isn't an impossible hope, especially in a nice mild environment like Tucson). It's betting on the U being able to expand its programs quickly enough and well enough to provide a desirable education for these many, many thousands of new students (or we'll have a ghost town of new construction downtown- there aren't exactly a ton of great career opportunities opening up here after all), and hoping Tucson quickly finds it's turned into a Texas-sized university town. Basically, asking out-of-town parents to contribute a boat-load of new property and sales tax $ into the city's coffers. It could work. And there's even a chance a greatly expanded, new-vibe university (and attendant research etc) could actually draw real career-worthy employment to Tucson and downtown instead of an ever-coming-and-going student base.
If it DOES work, and suddenly the city has a lot more property/sales tax $, do you think you could, pretty pretty please, FIX THE *AMNED STREET CRATERS everywhere for the rest of us residents? Why thanks all ya'll who we've entrusted to spend our tax dollars only to give us greatly-increased vehicle maintenance costs :)
I just don't know that the development is sustainable. Tucson is run by developers, many of whom are making a lot of money whether the development survives or fails (and it's worth considering a lot of it is on the taxpayer's back). The sheer amount of housing going in dwarfs the jobs created. That doesn't mean it can't work. If the new downtown Tucson proves a popular enough place to move to, even more service establishments can come in to serve the new populace. But service isn't generally a career industry. What's going in will largely appeal to youth, many of whom might live here during college, maybe a bit longer, and then move away for greater career opportunities. Now that we're committed to the development, here's hoping the development will actually spur more industry and long-term career opportunities to move to Tucson, as it has in places like Austin. That's me at my most hopeful. I do not have much faith in Tucson's management. And as much as I enjoy visiting Austin, Tucson is my home and should retain it's unique and proud character. Hipsters want to call it shitty? That's kind of just a hipster thing. People have every right to call it what they want. I think the sentiment has a lot more to do with making sure we retain Tucson's unique character, and taking civic pride in it.
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