Member since Jul 3, 2009


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Re: “Rock The Council: Save The Rialto!

The Rialto has made it abundantly clear they don't give a crap about the downtown.

What the general public doesn't know is that the Rialto had six months to pound out a deal with these developers and only raised holy hell the last 3 weeks of the deal over 4,000 square feet that they felt they should have obtained for free.

What the public also doesn't know is that the 4 million in land that these developers would receive would only be awarded to them after they spent 6 million on revitalizing downtown.
6 million which was to be allocated to several players in the downtown area- Skrappys, WAMO and MOCA, as well as various other venues and just over all visual improvements. There were biweekly meetings to hash out this deal and the Rialto didn't know show up for any of them. They instead insisted on having private meetings without input from the other major players that would benefit from the deal- Non-profits.

After a deal was actually made, only a matter of days before the 6 month deadline, the developers left town and the Rialto launched a smear campaign via email. Suddenly, all the work these developers and non-profits had done didn't matter, because the Rialto wanted free space. At the council meeting the Rialto claimed they were the soul reason that 130,000 people a year came downtown to patronize businesses, completely dismissing Congress, Maynards, Tooleys, Skrappys, MOCA..etc..

As is their way, The Rialto continues to care only about the Rialto. They were fully aware that their unwillingness to negotiate with these developers meant that all these other non-profits would lose out. They're not community oriented. They're not interested in creating a vital downtown, and if you don't believe me, consider this-when Skrappys was on the corner of 5th and Broadway in a building managed by the great and powerful Doug Biggers (manager of the Rialto), he was charging a youth lead community center 3600 bucks a month, when his own rent at the Rialto was 3200. Furthermore, as anyone who's gone to the Rialto can tell you, you're not treated as a guest. You're treated as an annoying in-law there for a 3-5 hour stay. Most people go see a show and promptly leave across the street to Congress.

During this whole negotiation process the city did nothing to reel Doug and his crew in. They didn't attend the meetings themselves to find out the full story, and they didn't mention any one of the other players involved in this process. If the city had shortened Doug's leash and moved forward with the plan, the Rialto would have received this property rent free for 5 years. They would have received 4 million for their venue and the block they reside in (while the arts community received less than a million because of all the revisions). They would have had a shiny new bar- so maybe people would want to stay after a show for once. The city,you, would receive 20% of the profits from that bar at the developers request. But the Rialto said NO. Ever entitled. And the city council said no, possibly because they can never seem to find their balls.

In a recession, who is going to come to downtown Tucson and offer up 6 million dollars to make our seriously neglected city some place people want to patron? We must like boarded up windows and warehouses that constantly change owners or stay empty for years.

So I don't shed one tear for the Rialto. You cannot play poker without a wager, and you don't get to have the support of team when you're an ass on the field.
Really, what did you think was going to happen?

Posted by lizz on 07/03/2009 at 8:57 PM

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