Tucson, AZ - The Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation is pleased to announce the successful closing of two significant real estate transactions. The transactions mark a major step forward in realizing a bold vision for a potentially transformative redevelopment of the corner of Congress Street and Stone Avenue.
As part of a larger expansion plan, late last week the Foundation closed on the purchase of the historic Fox Tucson Theatre at 17 W Congress from Rio Nuevo downtown redevelopment and revitalization district, along with the Arizona Star Building at 30 N Church Avenue (the organization’s administrative offices), and a strip of property connecting the two buildings (the theatre’s loading dock). On Wednesday, 12/28, the Foundation subsequently closed on the purchase of the properties along Stone Avenue immediately adjacent to the historic theatre. The new acquisitions include 1 W. Congress (the now unoccupied, former Bruegger’s Bagels downtown location) and 13, 17, 25 and 27 N Stone Avenue (three empty storefronts and the current location of Rae’s Place Downtown Market), connecting Congress north along Stone Avenue to the Bank of America building.
At its December 7 meeting following a year of planning and research, the Fox Board of Directors unanimously approved moving forward with the property purchases. At the same meeting, the Board authorized launch of the quiet phase of a capital campaign aimed at raising an initial project budget estimate of roughly $21 million over a 3 – 5-year campaign. The immediate funding goal is focused on meeting a generous two-million-dollar matching pledge challenge offered by Rio Nuevo. The Board has engaged Alexander|Carrillo Consulting to lead the quiet phase of the capital campaign, expected to unfold over the next 12 – 15 months. Long-time Tucson fundraising experts Laura Alexander and Phoebe Chalk-Wadsworth bring decades of experience to the project and will work closely alongside Fox Board and staff.
“We’ve set forth a bold vision,” said Fox Board President Brent Davis, “one that we believe will secure the legacy of the Crown Jewel of Tucson as not only an iconic, historic building; but, also as an enduring, flagship arts organization at the heart of downtown Tucson.” With this plan, the Fox will be capable of better serving the needs of current audiences as well as the generations to come with greater artistic program diversity, next level patron services, dynamic food and beverage experiences, and much more; all in ways that complement and extend what the Tucson community loves about the irreplaceable historic treasure.
“The opportunity to purchase these adjacent properties presented a once-in-a-lifetime, seize-the-day moment to invest in the long-term future and ultimate sustainability of the Fox,” said Fox Board Expansion Committee Chair Nancy March. “We were thrilled to receive such an enthusiastic response from so many when the initial concept was presented in October.”
Since then, the Fox Board and staff leadership have been focused on finalizing this pivotal property acquisition phase. With the properties now acquired, the project can move ahead with next steps. Immediate project priorities include active fundraising, ongoing work with stakeholders to refine program use plans, advancing the preliminary conceptual renderings into more concrete stages of design development, and additional reviews, input, and a recommendation for approval of the design by the Tucson/Pima County Historic Commission.
Executive Director Bonnie Schock noted “The number one priority in our Board’s guidance for the architectural process is preservation of the historic Fox. Next, it is a seamless incorporation of appropriate, complimentary visual elements into the new, adjacent spaces that will honor and extend the sense of elegance, sophistication, and the uniquely Southwestern-Deco flair that characterizes the experience of walking into the historic auditorium.There is much to do, and so much excitement to really get to work together on this next chapter in the beautiful story of our beloved Fox! While exact timelines are nearly impossible to predict on a project of this scope and complexity,” said Schock, “we look forward to bringing this vision to life for Tucson over the next 3 – 5 years. We owe it to the Fox to continue to reinvest in her enduring future.”
The Crown Jewel of Tucson. We make Memories. We make Connections. We make Tucson Proud
The Fox Tucson Theatre enlivens Tucson, fostering community growth and connections by shaping exceptional, live arts experiences in a celebrated setting. The “Crown Jewel of Downtown” makes memories, makes connections, and makes Tucson proud. Programming includes exciting year-round live entertainment from the top entertainers in the US, as well as community produced events, classic movies, family programming, and more. Beautifully restored, the historic 1930’s Art Deco theatre Fox has become an important symbol of the resurgence of a thriving city center and continues to contribute to the economic growth in the region. The Fox Tucson Theatre is located at 17 W Congress. For additional information visit www.foxtucson.com or call the Box Office at 520-547-3030.