Talks continue in Rio Nuevo project, little action

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The fate of a proposed 525-room Sheraton Hotel at the Tucson Conventon Center, remains up in the air. Negotiations continue between the City of Tucson and the Rio Nuevo Board regarding if and when it should be built.

For months, images of the proposed Tucson Convention Center hotel have given people a glimpse of what the future could possibly hold.

So far, the present has given us this, a lot of talk, little action.

"Last week, the joint negotiation team between the district and the city met twice," says Rio Nuevo Chair Jodi Bain.

Thursday, the Rio Nuevo District Board voted to hire attorneys to continue negotiations with the city over many of the different details-- everything from the contract, to the guaranteed maximum price.

"We're working toward a common goal to see that the hotel gets built at the least cost possible and that's what the goal of hiring these attorneys is," says Tucson Deputy Finance Director Silvia Amparano.

In the meantime, board members say its been frustrating, determining with the city whether the hotel project is feasible. "Sometimes, responses from the city government have thus far been disappointing.  However, we continue to urge open communication and move forward," says Bain.

And continue moving forward they will, even without a firm date set to approve the hotel or deny the project.

"There's gonna have to be some negotiations between the city and the district so they'll both be more comfortable in going forward with the financing," says Amparano.

The process continues.

Developer Garfield-Traub will present more information to the rio nuevo board on the guaranteed maximum price of the hotel in two weeks.

In the meantime, city officials estimate they will sell revenue bonds to finance the hotel in december.