March 19, 2018

Supervisors to Vote on Two New Tenants for Old Courthouse

University of Arizona and Visit Tucson may split the majority of the courthouse's square footage.

Courthouse hero The historic courthouse in downtown Tucson. (PHOTO: AZPM Staff)

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A pair of long-term leases are awaiting a vote by the Pima County Board of Supervisors at their Tuesday meeting.

If approved, the majority of Pima County's historic courthouse will be filled by the University of Arizona's Mineral Museum and local tourism bureau Visit Tucson.

Visit Tucson would use its space for offices and a visitor center.

"It does give those connections, right? It's an historic building and allows us to start telling that story the minute visitors come to see us here," said Visit Tucson's Dan Gibson.

A memo from County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry states the UA museum will take up the entire basement and a portion of the first floor. Visit Tucson will occupy a portion of the second floor an all of the third floor.

Visit Tucson will pay nearly $5.4 million in rent through March 2033, while UA will pay almost $6.5 million.

The UA has an option for 10 additional years after its 15-year lease, while Visit Tucson has two five-year options.

Gibson said placing a visitor center in one of downtown's most iconic buildings will give tourists a feel for the area.

"Historic buildings here, they're in use," he said. "They're part of our cultural context. We're not putting in faux exposed brick. We have actual exposed brick from the '10s and '20s in a lot of our historic buildings downtown. Being a part of that is great."

Visit Tucson is currently located in the last standing building in La Placita Village, one block south of the courthouse.

UA's Mineral Museum is located in the lower level of the Flandrau Science Center.

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