KTTU "In Focus," 2/6/11, 10:30 AM & KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," 2/13/11, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Mike Keith, CEO, Downtown Tucson Partnership, Inc. The Partnership is a non-profit corporation focused on  improving business conditions Downtown.

Keith says a recent analysis of  “investment” in downtown showed the public sector spending 180-million dollars over a 27-month period. He says the private sector invested 120-million dollars during the same period. He says that private investment includes restaurants, boutiques and the Unisource Energy project. He says it is an indication of the faith a lot of people have in downtown being a good place to do business. He says there’s not a lot of existing space available for rent downtown right now.
 
Keith says the Modern Streetcar project is on track and should be running mid-2012. He says that will immediately have an economic impact in terms of new development within several blocks on either side of the 4-mile route. He says with the U of A opening classrooms downtown, and with student housing downtown increasing, the streetcar will prove a valuable link between downtown and the main U of A campus.
 
Keith says one of the biggest challenges now is finding money for building projects. He says there are several locations that are vacant lots where various land-use proposals have been made. But lenders are still sitting on money. He says the Partnership this year will be making presentations to potential lenders and investors about the current success of businesses already downtown and why now is a good time to invest in downtown Tucson development.