Tucson Convention Center to Unveil $100 Million Renovation

Mayor Regina Romero, Fletcher McCusker, and other city dignitaries will gather on Feb. 15, in the heart of the city, to honor the past and glimpse the vision of what is yet to come at the Tucson Convention Center. A ribbon cutting ceremony will unveil the latest improvements made by the extensive $100-million renovation overseen by the Rio Nuevo District, City of Tucson and a private developer that has transpired at the TCC over the past 10 years.  

Conceived by the Mayor’s office, this project has been years in the making and is now about to be a time machine recognizing and honoring the history of these lands through the amazing advancements in technology with 3D Augmented Reality. A Culture Walk has been created where visitors can immerse themselves in moments of history — experiencing the land, and the people who came before us.” said Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker.

TCC and Tucson pride themselves on a rich and varied history from thousands of years of indigenous culture from Native American tribes, Spanish missionaries, Mexican Americans, and the Chinese immigrants who settled here. Honoring the past as one of the longest continuously lived-in communities in the U.S., and the vibrant tapestry of different cultures associated with that history is an important part of TCC’s mission: to be a “Tucson Cultural Center” that also hosts conventions and arena events and plays a central role in the economic prosperity for the city itself. The historic content available throughout the TCC campus was compiled and produced by Tucson artist and educator Marc Pinate through extensive research and information contributed by the tribal nations, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Arizona Historical Society, the Mexican American Museum and others.

Venue updates throughout the 27-acre campus in Downtown Tucson includes 233,000 square feet of new and refurbished meeting and event space, increased venue capacity, new public walkways and gathering places, water features, sculptures and hardscape, and new eco-friendly landscaping. Embracing state-of-the-art technology, the facility now hosts an impressive array of Digital Touch points with more than 70 additional display screens, way finders, and the amazing, augmented reality installations — the first of their kind deployed in the world. The cutting-edge digital media network installed on campus will guide, inform and direct visitors while also entertaining and educating them with a wide variety of exclusive content, including photos and video vignettes of local history, sponsor messages, and teasers of upcoming events. 

Rio Nuevo Executive Officer Taunya Villicana said, “These vital improvements will expand TCC’s economic impact for Tucson, making it a stronger, more viable option for securing conventions, sporting events, entertainment choices and more from a worldwide audience. And this is just the beginning… plans are underway that embrace community, showcase local businesses, and the rich cultural tapestry that is Tucson.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will also see the launch of an all new TCC Mobile App, which will inform TCC visitors and give them access to the integrated AR content throughout the campus. The Rio Nuevo board, starting in 2014 and continuing into 2024, chose to heavily invest in the TCC to create a state-of-the-art facility that will become a major economic driver for Downtown Tucson.  With the continued revitalization of downtown underway, it was clear that enhancing the entertainment options and bringing in outside convention business would be critical in the long-term success of the Downtown environment.  Based on current utilization, the investment has significantly increased the number and quality of events hosted at the TCC, providing the overall economic benefit to Downtown the board intended.

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