Proposed Student Housing Developments in Neighborhood: APNA Special Meeting Scheduled for April 20

At the April 12 APNA board meeting, Peach Properties presented the concept for a proposed student housing complex to be built at 4th Avenue and Broadway (a site that is now within neighborhood boundaries). About 45 people attended the meeting, and many voiced concerns and suggestions.

In the past, OasisTucson, led by Jim Campbell, has made presentations to APNA related to a proposed student housing project on the former Greyhound Site.  At the May 10 APNA meeting, he will return to present that project in its latest iteration.

On Friday, April 15, the UA announced that the Peach and OasisTucson projects were chosen from a field of nine proposals submitted in response to a university RFP (request for proposals) for public-private student housing partnerships that was issued last year. Their selection means is these two projects are now “on track” for development. (You can read more about the news from the Arizona Daily Star and on the UA website.)

Because of the UA announcement, the APNA board has scheduled a special meeting of members and neighbors for Wednesday, April 20, at 6:30 pm at St. Andrew’s Church. At the meeting,  we will discuss the projects and determine the association’s next steps. This discussion will help the board to frame its negotiations with the developers, city and UA.  Please come and share your thoughts. We also invite you to post comments here on the website, if you cannot attend. 

In preparing your thoughts, these articles may also be helpful:

Author: Ken Taylor

I am a relatively recent Armory Park resident (2/16) along with my wife, Donna and our little dog Lulu. In our 7+ decades, Donna and I lived over 30 years in Anchorage, Alaska before moving to Arizona. We have been Arizona residents for 16 years before coming here including 12 in Green Valley and four in west Tucson. We love the neighborhood for its history, walkability and interesting residents. Lulu insists on walking every day so you may see us following her around and picking up trash to keep our neighborhood presentable.

11 thoughts on “Proposed Student Housing Developments in Neighborhood: APNA Special Meeting Scheduled for April 20”

  1. I fully support the student housing plans for this site. The location has been a blight for quite some time, and new development will address this visual problem. Further, the number of new residents will improve downtown business activity, and the fact that these will be youthful residents will bring additional vitality to the area.

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  2. I attended the neighborhood meeting last week and listened to the presentation by
    Peach Tree Properties about this site. I was very concerned for several reasons:
    The architect and property manager were vague at best about parking concerns and traffic flow through the neighborhood. This is already an issue within the neighborhood for many of us. I am excited about the neighbors responding to this
    news; however I am concerned about their enthusiasm for this project when they have been so uninvolved in related issues. I listened to at least three neighbors who own houses on Fourth avenue near this project express serious concerns and raise critical questions that were not answered, merely pushed aside with a comment like, “We’ll look at this later, or we haven’t thought about that.”
    This is a project that will impact this neighborhood, and definitely change the
    “landscape.” It would be beneficial to everyone in Armory Park to have more community support at our meetings.

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  3. This is GREAT news for downtown and the Armory Park Neighborhood! I just hope a couple of our high-profile NIMBY’s (who think they speak for EVERYBODY in the neighborhood) don’t muck this up! Maybe the Plasma Blight will also finally be forced out!

    NW

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    1. I spoke with Ron from Peach Properties about this and he made no indication that there was any plan to try to move the Plasma Center at this time. He appears to agree that it would be desirable to see it go away, but made no indication that he knew of any way to make that happen.

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  4. We have come across thus before. I am not against building if the size is kept in keeping with the neighborhood. If a neighborhood becomes less than 50 percent owner occupied it is considered unsustainable. As long as this project does not put is over that 50 percent mark ok.

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    1. Comment to this post:
      The historic Armory Park neighborhood, as noted and defined; by the city, state, and federal districts, is an entity unto itself. Nothing has changed in the individual status of each, per se.
      What APNA has done, as a neighborhood association , was to extend its boundaries, merely as such. The area from 12th Street/Ochoa north to Broadway, has been included in the neighborhood association’s map/ area; but it has, in no way affected the area of the historic designations, or the purview of the APHZAB. This distinction became very evident during the process of incorporating Armory Park del Sol into the neighborhood association in 2005. It is a very clear distinction, but often overlooked. It is why the city has allowed our neighborhood association’s expansion to the north, and why the property owners and residents of that expanded area have not raised any serious, (or for that matter, minor) objections to our move. They are still under the purview of the various downtown development overlays for their properties, NOT the APHZAB’s purview. They merely have the new ability to participate at a neighborhood level.
      It is technically now a matter of courtesy that any of them inform the larger neighborhood of their development plans. And why we, APNA, may choose to have a voice in it’s impacts. Just that.
      Change can be good or bad, however you look at it. But it always raises questions. It may be wonderful that all of this development is concentrated in our neighborhood, or immediately adjoining it. But to ignore the potential impacts of 1200 new residents, their cars, traffic patterns at our northern frontier, and what businesses may be established in a lot that is equivalent to 5-10 houses in the neighborhood, without even a question of what is best for everyone currently here, really beggars the question.
      APNA is attempting to get feedback from everyone concerned, with real information, and a real assessment of positives, negatives, potential impacts, property owners’/residents’ concerns, traffic solutions, and long term goals for the betterment of all of us that call this place home.

      And I truly hope a 10-year, 20-year, 50-year, and possibly longer assessment will help guide both our question and solutions about this project. I, personally, truly think that we could help guide this project to be a very positive development for APNA, ourselves, and our larger community.
      But we all know, lately especially, what a blind rubber stamp can lead to. Please join us at our next meeting- April 20, 2011; next regular meeting–May 10, 2011, and any future meetings that will discuss this project. It, potentially, is the biggest issue that may effect our neighborhood for decades.

      Thoughtfully, John Burr

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  5. I can imagine both good and bad consequences of higher-density student housing on those empty lots. I think we as a neighborhood should concentrate our efforts on suggestions to mitigate any of the negative effects we can imagine, and conversely support any of the positive effects we can think of.

    Here’s one idea. One of the wonderful things about downtowns, and our downtown in particular, is the high concentration of locally owned businesses. They bring a sense of place and a sense of neighborhood. However, each of these proposed building projects is bringing with it a large component of commercial space which would be easy for the developers to fill with chains like Subway that one can find in any suburban mini-mall. This would make downtown significantly less special, less interesting, less worth traveling to.
    One way we could contribute to the process is to strongly advocate for some kind of set-aside mandating that some proportion of the new commercial space go to locally owed businesses. I don’t know how any of this works, but if there’s a way to make sure that there are locally owned businesses, these commercial spaces won’t turn into copies of the student union here at the U of A, which is deadly, cheaply, boringly corporate.

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  6. One thing to keep in mind: If all goes as planned by developers, the existing residents of the Armory Park senior apartments are slated to be moved to a new facility west of I-10. I’d be willing to bet those seniors will be replaced by students, in yet another dorm-style operation on the neighborhood’s northern flank. All said, that’s going to be one hell of a lot of students concentrated within four blocks.

    We live next door to a houseful of students now, and it can be challenging, to say the least. To say the most, it’s pretty much a drag. Not that they’re evil people, but just that their lifestyles conflict so much with everyone else on our block.

    I don’t envy folks living around Broadway and Fourth.

    Tim

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  7. To prevent spam posts and comments, the site requires you to set up an account to create posts and stories (but not to make comments on existing stories). If you live in APNA, you can click on any “Register” link to create an account.

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