Mayor Romero and City of Tucson Lay Groundwork for Affordable Housing

Published on October 18, 2023

Empty lot at Stone and Speedway purchased by the City of Tucson for future affordable housing.

City’s latest purchase will transform two acres in the Thrive in the ‘05 area 

The Housing Affordability Strategy for Tucson, called for by Mayor Romero and passed unanimously by Mayor and Council in December of 2021, laid out a clear plan for how the City will work to create affordability in Tucson. With the purchase of the vacant southwest corner at Stone and Speedway, the City is taking another important step towards that goal.

The City of Tucson completed the purchase of the vacant southwest corner at Stone and Speedway in anticipation of the next phase of affordable housing coming to the Thrive in the '05 area. 

The purchase of the land, coupled with an existing City-owned parcel, allows the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to create critically needed affordable housing on two acres. 

The City of Tucson successfully competed and won a $50 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Tucson was only one of eight sites in the country that received these funds this year, and this grant is now contributing to the development of this iconic corner of Tucson. 

“Speedway and Stone is the next phase of implementing our Choice Neighborhood Grant, helping us add more affordable and mixed-income housing to this corner of Tucson,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. "Transforming the Thrive in the ’05 area has been a top priority for me since my time as Council Member,” said the Mayor. "This is a great thing for our Housing and Community Development Department and the City of Tucson,” added Romero.

“This is a big step for the City which will lead to additional steps to promote housing at a key intersection, across the street from Pima Community College’s Downtown campus, along the future 15-mile-long transit corridor connecting the northside to downtown Tucson and to the southside,” HCD Interim Director Ann Chanecka said. 

Ward 1 Council Member Lane Santa Cruz credited the City’s persistence in successfully negotiating the purchase.

“I’m thrilled to share that after persistent efforts, the City has successfully negotiated an agreement to acquire a crucial 2-acre corner parcel, now owning it in its entirety," said Council Member Lane Santa Cruz.

"This strategic acquisition was pursued vigorously, recognizing the site's tremendous potential for fostering a development that blends various uses and income levels. Affordable and mixed-income housing is not just a need – it's a vital component underpinning the economic vibrancy and stability of our communities. Perfectly situated, this site offers easy access to employment hubs, Sun Tran routes, dedicated bicycle pathways, and the esteemed Pima Community College, making it a prime location for development that can benefit all,” added Santa Cruz.

The City purchased the property from Colin Reilly with Stone Corridor Partners.

“The need for affordable housing in Tucson has never been greater. It was a pleasure to work with Assistant City Manager Liz Morales and her team to bring our shared vision of smart design and affordability to the city center of my hometown,” said Reilly.

As a later phase of the Thrive in the ‘05-housing plan, development is expected to begin in a few years. Meanwhile, plans for the site will proceed with community input and alignment of financing. Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act were used to purchase the property. 

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant 

The City of Tucson won a highly competitive $50 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant from HUD. The grant will accelerate the City’s efforts to create more than 550 new or rehabilitated housing units, establish an extensive support system for residents in the Tucson House, and strengthen ongoing public investments in the 2.3 square mile Oracle Road and Miracle Mile area known as Thrive in the 05. The grant will allow the City to leverage federal funds for an additional $300 million from public, private, and non-profit sources. 

Housing Affordability Strategy for Tucson (HAST) 

Mayor Romero directed the Department of Housing and Community Development to create the Housing Affordability Strategy for Tucson. Housing affordability is a high-priority area for the Mayor and Council as the City continues making strategic investments in housing affordability that align with priority areas like climate resiliency and equity.