Financial study of Rio Nuevo hotel

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It has evolved into the primary symbol of downtown revitalization -- a $165-million hotel at the Tucson Convention Center.

But the question has been -- will it bring in needed new revenue.

The city and the Rio Nuevo board have received a financial analysis on the impact of an expanded convention center -- and a new downtown hotel.

The convention center hotel and expansion are the focal points of Rio Nuevo.

And according to a new study released by convention, sports, and leisure international -- the project will generate nearly $37-million annually And about $757-million over a 30 year period.

But, some remain skeptical. "It's fine to put the happy face on the thing but if the numbers are based on factors that aren't gonna happen, the numbers aren't worth anything," says Tucson City Council Member Steve Kozachik.

He's referring to a study on the hotel's profitability released in February -- which said the hotel would make money if some of the other Rio Nuevo projects ever come to light. "What the projections say is if all of these extraordinary assumptions occur and the HVS predictions come true then these numbers will also come true."

Kozachik doesn't think the assumptions will come true -- and because of that, he doesn't want to use taxpayer dollars to pay for the hotel, "If they think this is such a screaming deal, let them write their own checks for the thing."

A Certified Public Accountant who's worked downtown for 29 years, Carla Keenan, has her own thoughts on the project, "Tucson does need a convention center hotel, and needs and an expanded convention center."

But after looking at the report of hotel's economic impact Carla sees some problems, "Some of these numbers just don't make any sense to me."

She admits she was dismayed by some of what she saw, "If you read one of the first paragraphs in the report, it says all information provided to us by others was not audited or verified and was assumed to be correct."

Information that says construction alone would bring more than 500 jobs to Tucson.

Construction Kozachik says might not happen, "Jobs that are based on assumptions like this are not gonna happen."

Rio Nuevo Board members and from the city manager's office, but none were available.

In the meantime, the Rio Nuevo board will discuss the report in detail with the company that drafted the study at their study session next Thursday.