Fox redevelopment project makes headway

click to enlarge Fox redevelopment project makes headway
(Submitted)
The Fox is set for expansion with the acquisition of two properties, one at 17 W. Congress and the other at 30 N. Church. The sale also includes the loading dock between the properties.

The Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation closed two significant real estate transactions for its major property expansion project.

The transactions mark a major development toward its vision to completely revitalize and transform the northwest corner of Stone Avenue and Congress Street.

“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 Nancy March, Fox board expansion committee chair, in a statement.

Late last week, the foundation closed on the purchase of the historic theater located at 17 W. Congress from Rio Nuevo Tax Increment Finance District (TIF), in addition to the Arizona Star Building located at 30 N. Church Avenue and the loading dock in between the two properties.

In December, the Fox board of directors unanimously approved the property purchases, new acquisitions including four unoccupied storefronts and the current location of Rae’s Place Downtown Markets.

The board also authorized the “quiet phase of a capital campaign,” with the intention of raising an initial project budget of approximately $21 million over three to five years. The funding goal strives to match the $2 million pledge offered by Rio Nuevo, who voted to forgive the debt of about $2.7 million on the existing Fox Tucson Theatre, allowing it to finance and create a brand new upgraded and flexible performance venue which would include a wrap-around digital marquee, bigger lobby space, expanded ADA accessibility and an outdoor rooftop bar.

Alexander | Carrillo Consulting is engaged with the Fox board of directors to lead the silent phase of the capital campaign along with local fundraising experts Phoebe Chalk-Wadsworth and Laura Alexander, who will work closely with the board and staff.

Rio Nuevo’s initial support of debt forgiveness and reassignment of the lease of the existing property placed the Fox in a “very strong position,” said Edmund Marquez, secretary and member of the Rio Nuevo board of directors. “It’ll become more of an event center than just a theater,” he said.

“We’ve set forth a bold vision,” said Brent Davis, the Fox board president. “(It’s) one that we believe will secure the legacy of the Crown Jewel of Tucson as not only an iconic, historic building, but also as a flagship arts organization at the heart of Downtown Tucson.”

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