SPRING ISSUE 2013 – Banking on Downtown

From The Publisher

When “the book” on downtown Tucson’s revitalization is written, there will certainly be some cloudy chapters that we’d all like to forget.

But a bright new chapter began Feb. 7 when local news media gathered in Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s office for an historic announcement.

Joining him were Rio Nuevo District Chairman Fletcher McCusker and Tucson City Manager Richard Miranda. Without fanfare, they announced that the City of Tucson reached an agreement with the Rio Nuevo District board. Lawsuits had been dropped, property ownership assigned, financial obligations agreed upon. Going forward the two formerly “warring factions” would work together for the common goal of rebuilding downtown. As freelance journalist Dan Sorenson writes in this issue, that’s “all under the long-lost rainbow bridge.”

A few days later, McCusker addressed the CCIM Commercial Real Estate Industry Forecast. He shared a little-known fact – that from 2008 to 2013 the combined public and private investment in downtown totaled nearly $800 million, with $90 million more projected for 2014. That’s according to research by the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

Downtown is now a hub for commercial real estate and construction activity in Tucson. Michael Keith, CEO of the partnership, contends there is more construction activity in downtown Tucson right now than anywhere in the Western U.S.

Really? The BizTucson team took a closer look and found – all Rio-Nuevo cynicism aside – there really is a lot happening downtown.

We brought writer/musician and downtown aficionado Sorensen to the table. The former bass guitarist of The Mollies talked to the mayor, McCusker, Keith and others to compile two compelling BizTucson reports.

“Burying the Hatchet” tells us how the peace deal was brokered. “Banking on Downtown” highlights 10 reasons for optimism – a far cry from David Letterman’s Top 10 satires. Downtown Tucson is happening.

This is an optimistic edition – after all, it is spring. We bring you profiles on our baseball and softball coaches, plus an update on the expanding soccer arena, all by sportswriter Steve Rivera. Eric Swedlund reports that the biosciences industry has increased four-fold over the past decade. And business is booming at B/E Aerospace, which expanded its manufacturing facility by 30 percent and more than doubled its highly skilled workforce.

We also take you to Mission San Xavier Del Bac, a glimmering jewel in the desert. Monica Surfaro Spigelman shares its centuries-old story and a new capital campaign to help preserve this iconic architectural masterpiece for generations to come. Original photography is by our own design guru Brent Mathis.

Gabrielle Fimbres shares compelling stories about four dedicated pillars of our community who have not only been successful in business, but also where it really counts – at home. These role-model dads have been selected by the Father’s Day Council Tucson as the 2013 Fathers of the Year. We salute Steve Eggen, Tom Firth, Mike Hammond, Jon Volpe – and a U.S. military hero stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base who you’ll read about in the next edition. We also honor an inspirational couple – Rosi and Benjamin Vogel. Proceeds benefit type 1 diabetes research at the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center.

As BizTucson begins its 5th year as the region’s business magazine, we send a special thank you to our loyal readers and to our advertisers, who invest their marketing dollars to reach the top executives in the business community. Special recognition and BIG thanks go to our stellar writers and photographers.

It all begins with one terrific trio that is dedicated to excellence and always raising the bar. Thank you to our Creative Director Brent G. Mathis, for his exceptional graphic design, photography and sense of style – and to Contributing Editors Gabrielle Fimbres and Donna Kreutz for their “eagle eyes,” wonderful ideas and unwavering dedication to quality in writing and editing. Thanks also go to wise friends and colleagues – plus heartfelt gratitude to my supportive family and especially, my wife Rebecca.

Steven E. Rosenberg
Publisher & Owner

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