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The "Lowdown" section of the Downtown Tucsonan

The "Lowdown" section of the Downtown Tucsonan

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    Writing Sample: News Articles Writing Sample: News Articles Document Transcript

    • Downtown Tucsonan: December 2005 Issue http://www.downtowntucson.org/downtowntucsonan/dec05/lowdown... DECEMBER 2005 Downtown Lowdown written by Jennifer Yamnitz and Downtown Tucsonan Staff {Send your Lowdown to Jamie Manser, jamie@downtowntucson.org} OasisTucson Plans to Develop Greyhound Lot Downtown’s revitalization is well underway, and the east end of Congress Street will be seeing an exciting mix of projects take shape within the next few years. Right now, Jim Campbell of OasisTucson is putting together ideas for a strategic development on the Greyhound Bus Station lot. Through a land swap with the City of Tucson, Campbell has been granted first right of refusal on the lot, but he emphasizes that it’s his task to create a design that the city will accept. “One of the things that I am doing to differentiate our proposal from others is that we are going to move fairly quickly,” said Campbell. “Though I had a 30-month first right of refusal, I told the city council, mayor, and (city manager) Mike Hein that my goal was to come up with a conceptual plan within 120 days and then begin to work through that with the City.” Campbell plans to have a conceptual design and a rough economic pro forma ready to present to the city council within the first quarter of 2006. Although nothing has been solidified at this time, Campbell says his idea is to build an eight- to ten-story mixed-use tower. The bottom floor will be retail space that complements the neighborhood and ties into the activities at the Rialto Theatre and Hotel Congress. Above the commercial space, Campbell wants to offer approximately three levels of parking. The remaining floors will be residential. Campbell added: “Part of the process is to talk to the people who are driving the Rio Nuevo project and make sure we fulfill what they want to see on that side of Downtown.” Central Bistro Set to Open in Train Depot Downtown’s newest eatery, Central Bistro, opens this month in the historic Southern Pacific Depot located at 400 E. Toole. Owners Mark and Sonia Economou will be serving new American bistro cuisine with a fresh, health-conscious approach to the menu. Currently, the Economous plan to have the restaurant open by December 20 with a grand opening celebration to be held in January. “My husband is a chef, and this has always been a dream of his,” said Sonia. “He was the executive chef of Bistro Zin, and we were just waiting for the right time to open our own restaurant. That came a lot sooner than we expected, but we didn’t see any reason to wait, so we jumped right in.” The menu will feature classic dishes such as steak, chicken, and fish, accompanied by regional meals including a New Orleans’-style “poor boy” sandwich. Average lunch prices will be approximately $14, while dinner prices range from $12 to $25 per plate for entrées. Central Bistro will also house a friendly, upscale bar where Tucsonans can enjoy a cocktail after work or before dinner. 1 of 4 3/5/06 8:42 PM
    • Downtown Tucsonan: December 2005 Issue http://www.downtowntucson.org/downtowntucsonan/dec05/lowdown... With the addition of Central Bistro, all of the retail space inside the Depot’s main building has been leased. The restaurant has the capacity to hold just under 100 people in a colorful, modern space on the ground floor. The Economous are also leasing room upstairs for banquet facilities and an office. “We applaud their risk-taking, entrepreneurial spirit because that’s what it takes to not only start a restaurant but to be successful in that venture, said John Updike, City of Tucson real estate administrator. “We’re thrilled to have them in the depot.” El Nacimiento Celebrates the Holidays Tucson’s distinctive character is the legacy of its diverse, multi-cultural history, and during the holidays the Tucson Museum of Art celebrates the region’s special heritage with El Nacimiento. The exhibit is a grand installation of a traditional Mexican nativity scene that is displayed each year in Casa Cordova, the city’s oldest standing residence. For the past 28 years, Maria Luisa Tena has created the Art Museum’s El Nacimiento to honor her mother. When Tena was growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico, her mother made a Nacimiento each year that Tena says was even larger than the one in Casa Cordova. Almost every night, neighbors would stop by and ask to see the fantastic display. Tena’s mother continued the tradition each Christmas until her death. At that point, Tena began to build the display and was soon asked to bring it to the Art Museum. The display is made up of more than 800 hand-painted, clay figurines, and it takes Tena and a helper more than a month to put it together. El Nacimiento combines symbols from Spanish Catholicism with scenes from Mexican life. It shows the story of the birth of Jesus with pilgrims venturing to Bethlehem and angels trumpeting the news. In addition to the nativity scene, there are several temples and biblical figures depicting other stories from Jesus’ life. Interspersed throughout the religious setting are Mexican villagers shown in everyday activities. The detailed houses are complete with miniature utensils for cooking, while horses, cows, and ducks fill the tiny farms. Plants, glowing lights and flowing water finish the exhibit with a magical aura that fills an entire room within Casa Cordova. El Nacimiento will be on display in Casa Cordova at the Tucson Museum of Art through March 31. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The cost is $8 to view Casa Cordova and other homes in the museum’s historic block. Call 624-2333 for details. Construction of El Presidio de Tucson to Begin Ground will be broken on December 8 for one of the signature elements of the Rio Nuevo Project—the reconstruction of El Presidio de Tucson. The northeast corner of the original 11-acre site of the walled compound considered the birthplace of the city of Tucson will be reconstructed with adobe walls, a watch tower, interpretive exhibits, and enlivened by living history and docent-led tours. The site that will be developed into this interpretive historic park is at the southwest corner of Church and Washington, north of the Transamerica Building. On-site archaeological work will be undertaken by Desert Archaeology, and in January, there will be a series of adobe brick-making opportunities for the general public to get a hands-on feel for how Tucson’s early structures were built. Construction of the presidio itself is expected to commence in February, with completion by April 2007. The general contractor for the project team is Means Design and Building Corp., a local firm that is known for its work in stabilizing Tucson’s oldest adobe structures. One of Means’ recent projects was a three-roomed adobe building on Court Avenue adjacent to the presidio site. The “triplex”, as it’s known, will be used for rotating exhibits on Tucson’s cultural history. El Presidio de Tucson is the “Downtown” element of the larger Tucson Origins Project, which also includes the Mission San Agustin complex on the west side of the Santa Cruz River. Environmental work continues on that site, where the Citizen’s Auto Stage bus barn is to be demolished to make way for the Convento, chapel, granary, and other elements of the Mission complex. While the Church and Washington site is the only location where reconstruction of the presidio structure is planned, the master plan includes marking the entire perimeter of the compound, allowing visitors to get an idea of the area the presidio covered. After 1775, the area now occupied by Tucson’s City Hall, the Old Pima County Courthouse, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, Old Town Artisans, and the Transamerica office tower was bounded by a wall defending the northernmost outpost of the Spanish in the Southwest. US Bank Opens on Congress Street Last month, US Bank opened a new branch at 1 East Congress Street. The location is open seven days a week, serving personal banking customers as well as US Bank’s large and middle-market commercial, small business, private banking and trust clients. Safe deposit boxes, night depository, and an ATM are also 2 of 4 3/5/06 8:42 PM
    • Downtown Tucsonan: December 2005 Issue http://www.downtowntucson.org/downtowntucsonan/dec05/lowdown... available at the bank. “It’s been a very positive experience, being in the heart of Downtown,” said Anita Curran, branch manager. “We are open every day and there has been a lot of curiosity about us from other banks and people passing by.” Six Tucson-area residents have been hired to staff the new branch, including one of Tucson’s most influential 40 under 40, Melissa Amado. Amando is a small business banking officer, and will be providing small business banking financing programs to customers in Tucson. The Congress location is U.S. Bank’s ninth branch in Tucson. Lobby hours are 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sundays. Urban Adventure On Saturday, November 19, more than twenty teams set out to complete the High Trek Adventure, an urban adventure game that took place throughout Downtown, Fourth Avenue, and the University of Arizona. Teams of two had to solve a dozen clues to find checkpoints using only public transportation and foot. Congratulations to Bison Witches employees Molly Hale and Carly Whitt (a.k.a. team “Car-Mol-licious”) for winning the race. They receive a two night stay and airfare for two to San Francisco. Visit www.hightrekadventure.com to learn more. El Tour de Tucson & El Tour Downtown Fiesta – Saturday, November 19 Downtown Tucsonan Curtis Gunn took top honors at the 23rd annual Charter Funding El Tour de Tucson last month, coming in first out of over 4,000 cyclists competing in the 109-mile bike race and fundraiser. Clocking in at 4:21:23, Gunn, a West University Neighborhood resident, averaged a speed of 25.1 miles per hour during the race, which began and ended on Granada Avenue south of Congress Street. Second place went to Phoenician Nathan Mitchell, whose time was 4:21:59. The first female finisher, Suzanne Sonye, placed 42nd overall, part of a large pack just behind the leaders at 4:22:30. Floyd Landis, who finished 9th in this year’s Tour de France, came in 5th place. Placing in first place in the 109-mile tandem ride were Tucsonans Evan Unger and John Simonson, reaching the finish line in 4:22:29. As of press time, the results were unofficial. Other rides included an 80-mile stretch, 66-miles, 35-miles and the 4-mile Kids Fun Ride. All told, a record-setting 7,773 cyclists participated in El Tour de Tucson. Proceeds from the events benefited Tu Nidito, a local non-profit organization providing services to children and their families as they deal with serious illness and death. Greeting the cyclists at the end of their grueling ride was the inaugural El Tour Downtown Fiesta, resplendent with food vendors, children’s activities, massage therapists, musical performances, and a fiery grand finale performance by pyrotechnic troupe Flam Chen. The finale also included the Tucson Roller Derby girls, Molehill Orkestrah, Sunnyside High School Marching Band, and performers dramatically lowered and raised by crane. A total of 75 participants wow’d the crowd with their “Papa Boneshaker’s Combustible Revolution.” Back to Top BACK NEXT Return to www.downtowntucson.org 3 of 4 3/5/06 8:42 PM
    • Downtown Tucsonan: December 2005 Issue http://www.downtowntucson.org/downtowntucsonan/dec05/lowdown... read | subscribe | advertise 4 of 4 3/5/06 8:42 PM