The following sections provide information on many of the comments and questions heard during meetings with the surrounding neighborhoods.
How are the buildings arranged on the property?
The City’s University Area Plan has established three different height districts on the property:
- A maximum ten-story element along the site’s Campbell Avenue and Helen Street frontages
- A maximum twelve-story element along the site’s Speedway Boulevard frontage
- A maximum twenty-story, high-rise element within the site’s interior. This twenty-story element is limited to no more than 33% of the defined twenty-story building envelope and no more than 25% of the project’s total building envelope. The proposed high-rise element must satisfy both of these percentage maximums.
The current rezoning/PAD request conforms to these policies.
What is the maximum height of the project?
The twenty-story, high-rise element described above is set back from both the Speedway and Campbell street frontage and is allowed a maximum height of 250 feet by the University Area Plan.
Why 250 feet in height?
Much attention has been paid to the 250’ height element. It is important to understand that the high-rise is only one part of an overall architectural design that properly proportions the building with a “base”/pedestrian-scale building volume along Speedway and Campbell. This base is where the proposed restaurants, retail and grocery will occur and where the majority of the project’s building volume actually occurs. The slender high-rise provides the height necessary for high-end residential units and Class-A office space. Some believe that any tall building at this location is inappropriate; however, this project is driven by the idea that a well-designed and elegant high-rise at this location will be an inspiring addition to Tucson’s urban landscape and an important source of community pride.
What will the project look like from my neighborhood? Will people be able to see into my home and invade my privacy?
The Planned Area Development (PAD) document contains extensive visibility studies that addressed these issues using photo-simulations of the completed project, together with drone photos looking outward from it at various heights. These studies found that: 1) visibility of the project from surrounding neighborhoods is generally minimal and, in many cases, cannot be seen at all; and 2) there is almost no opportunity to view private residential windows or outdoor spaces from the project due to distance, intervening structures and the substantial mature landscaping throughout the existing neighborhoods.
More information on the VISIBILITY STUDY can be found under the studies tab.
How will this building compare to other nearby buildings and those in other areas of Tucson?
The immediate area surrounding the project is already experiencing significant building construction. The new Banner-University Medical Center hospital is under construction approximately ¼ mile to the north and is over 190’ tall. This height, together with its widths of nearly the same dimension, creates a much more substantial building presence than the slender high-rise proposed at our site. The Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) is also under construction with two new buildings of slightly lower heights but similar widths and massing. The University of Arizona’s current Comprehensive Campus Plan proposes similar future volumes on the AHSC campus where parking lots and open areas presently exist.
The graphic below provides a height and massing comparison of our proposed project with other tall buildings in Tucson. Our 250’ height element is comparable to some of Tucson’s other tall buildings. It is again important to stress that the overall massing of our high-rise is lessened by its slender design.
How will the square footage of the building be apportioned?
Our current building program envisions the following approximate square footages (SF):
- 30,000 to 40,000 SF of retail and restaurants
- 20,000 to 30,000 SF of grocery
- 100,000 SF (approximately 80 units) of residential or hotel
- 250,000 SF of professional offices and/or medical outpatient services, including medical offices and health clinics
What will be the traffic impacts of this project?
The PAD document contains an extensive traffic study that assesses not only the traffic impact from our proposed project, but also from the future build-out of the new Banner-University Medical Center hospital and the additional construction currently underway on the Arizona Health Sciences Center campus. Even without our project’s construction, certain street improvements are already needed based on this and other development that is occurring.
More information on the TRAFFIC STUDY can be found under the studies tab.
What will this complex mean for shade and shadow? What about sun reflection?
These aspects were studied in detail and presented within the PAD document. The studies found that shade, shadow and reflective impacts were minimal and occurred primarily in the immediate non-residential area surrounding the project. Those impacts extending into the outlying neighborhoods were of very short duration and occurred only in the early-morning and late-afternoon/early-evening time frames. Those wishing to review the studies in detail can use the link below.
More information on the SUN REFLECTION AND SHADOW STUDY can be found under the studies tab.
Will there be adequate parking? What about accessible parking?
Yes. The project will provide all of its required parking on site. Approximately 1,350 spaces will be constructed in a combination of sub-surface parking (two to three underground levels are anticipated), an above-ground parking structure and a small amount of surface parking along Helen Street.
Accessible parking in such urban developments is routinely provided immediately adjacent to the elevators and escalators that serve the above-ground and sub-surface parking structures.
What types of retail/restaurants are planned?
The goal and vision for the project is to provide specialty retail and restaurant experiences similar in style and character to places like Casas Adobes Plaza, St. Philip’s Plaza and La Encantada. It is the developer’s hope to attract unique venues that do not presently exist in the Tucson market.
What are the environmental impacts?
The project site falls within a completely urbanized area. As such, there are no natural environmental issues or concerns. To the contrary, the project’s sustainability elements will be an asset to the environment. Planned conservation strategies envisioned for the project include energy-efficient HVAC with condensate water collection, solar water heaters, potential roof-top photovoltaic panels to harvest solar energy and provide shade, rainwater harvesting in the central plaza and upper-level courtyards, geothermal energy, and orientation of the high-rise building volume to optimize passive solar efficiency.
How many living units/what will they cost?
Approximately 80 to 100 residential units are envisioned at this time and pricing will be at the higher end of the Tucson market. They will not be marketed to students and our PAD document specifically prohibits group dwellings as a permitted use. The goal in pricing the residential units is finding the “sweet spot” that is affordable for people seeking an urban, transit-oriented lifestyle.
What will the streetscape be like?
This project will create a vibrant and energetic urban streetscape along its Speedway, Campbell and Helen Street frontages. Our PAD document establishes a formal “design zone” along each of these streets, wherein shaded gathering areas, seating, street furniture and street trees will all be integrated with porous storefronts. The goal here is to create streetscape edges for the project that are intriguing, welcoming and exciting for the visitor.
What about medical helicopters and noise?
A formal acoustics study was performed to determine any impacts that our project might have on noise or reverberation levels from the medical transport helicopters to and from Banner-University Medical Center. The study indicates the project will have no discernible impacts upon the existing condition.
More information on the FLIGHT PATTERNS AND NOISE STUDY can be found under the studies tab.