The vacation of 350 acres of prime real estate in Tucson, Arizona could be the defining factor in the future of the city. In 2007, the Downtown Tucson Airport building that lay adjacent to the Pantano Wash River in the El Gheko district was vacated, leaving behind prime commercial real estate in the centre of the city. This opportunity does not come around often, so naturally one of the most influential institutions and largest employers in the Tucson area decided to invest in what is now realised to be the future of the city.
The University of Arizona plans to build a revolutionary Technology Park in place of this vacated lot known as The Bridges. Along with a few other developers, the complex is set to be a defining feature of the Tucson urban landscape and the city’s outward identity for years to come.
There will be three major projects going forward from the University of Arizona: The Village, Solar Zone Phase Two and Science Park Drive. The Village will span a 175-acre plot at the west end of the UA Technology Park, fully integrated both physically and functionally into the overarching network of the park. The Village will incorporate forward-thinking designs of urban planning including the scale and connectivity of spaces, people and technology as well as prioritising a sustainable approach to transport with bicycle routes and pedestrian zones incorporated and shaded for the hot summer months. With seamless integration of educational facilities through collaboration and programmes, local high schools including the Vail Academy will have access to state-of-the-art learning opportunities within the complex. The Village is a mixed-use development set to include retail space, commercial enterprises, residential facilities and hospitality amenities for the prospectively increased business travellers.
The Solar Zone will be split into two phases with the second phase prioritising the academic and practical use of energy storage, distributed solar systems and necessary grid optimisation in an effort to transition to electricity-powered lifestyles. The R&D put into the products will be utilised in a sales capacity to demonstrate the benefits of the transition to electrical power generation including the products and their cost-efficiency. The Solar Zone at UA’s Technology Park will seek to investigate the prospects and effectiveness of incorporating solar energy into industrial processes including mining, defence, security, and agriculture. To be able to best demonstrate the innovative products and services produced on the site, the park will open 28.5-acres of land for testing. Educational facilities will be linked to the Solar Zone with an intention of inspiring and educating local and visiting students on the state of the solar-electrical product market such as solar panels and lithium-ion batteries.
In February 2020, the University of Arizona broke ground on its first building in the Tech Park at The Bridges development. Their flagship building, The Refinery, will feature 120,000 square feet of office space aimed at small and mid-sized businesses opening within the technology sphere. Set to be an incubator for innovation, research and development, and product refinement, the building will be completed by the end of 2021.
The University of Arizona has also signed a deal with HSL-Properties to develop a Marriott franchise hotel on site. The 4-storey hotel will feature 100 rooms and sufficient meeting space for the corporate, academic and public clientele. The Marriott branding is an encouraging sign that this Tech Park will blossom into one of America’s top incubators for innovative hardware and software development.
The Bridges development as a whole, but particularly the Tech Park, forecasts an exciting decade ahead for Tucson. With the offices full of technology companies from biotech to security software, Tucson will add another feather to its already illustrious cap. The city already seems millions of tourists who spend billions annually for the leisure aspects of Tucson, but with professional, progressive industries also forging a name for Tucson, the city is set for a bright future for all involved in the city.
With some of the most affordable housing in America and a plan for success well underway, it's time to invest in Tucson. Contact Propeterra today to discover your real estate investment opportunities in Tucson, Arizona.