Tucson City Council considers TCC hotel

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TUCSON -- The time to decide whether to approve financing for the proposed convention center hotel draws near. So, will it happen?

Discussion continued Tuesday at city hall on plans to approve a timeline to build a new hotel at the Tucson Convention Center -- the focal point of Rio Nuevo.

So that we have a joint understanding of what the milestones are and how we get those milestones in partnership Richard Miranda

The council and Rio Nuevo board have important decisions to make over the next few months, but some council members still aren't ready to say "yes" to the project.

"I want to be able to move forward, and i want to be able to approve the hotel but it needs to be a fair financing package, and that's what i'm waiting to see," says Tucson City Council Member Regina Romero.

Joining the council Tuesday was a representative from Conventions Sports & Leisure, which put together the economic impact report on the hotel and convention center expansion projects.

The group estimates the projects would bring more than $38M annually to the city.

Yet Council Member Steve Kozachik raised concerns about that figure, "All of the information provided us was not audited or verified and it's assumed to be correct."

Also, the study accounted for several Rio Nuevo projects that have since been canceled.

"Our charge was not to do our own independent market research. So, I cannot give 100% verification of the numbers based on what we were asked to do," says William Krueger of Conventions Sports & Leisure.

The council felt it important enough to approve the timeline and keep the project moving forward without being legally bound to build the hotel just yet.

"I see this as organizing our thoughts.Putting it in writing. Putting it in a framework. And working with our partners," says Romero.

The 525 room Sheraton Hotel at the TCC is expected to cost nearly $200M. The Tucson City Council will hold special meeting next month to decide whether to approve the hotel project.