The board of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District voted unanimously yesterday to spend $52 million to bring Caterpillar, Inc. to Tucson. Along with $4 million promised to Caterpillar by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the offer is one of the largest in recent state history, according to Rio Nuevo officials.
“If you want to attract big businesses, you’ve got to put some skin in the game,” Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker told board members.
Most of the money will be used by Caterpillar to build a downtown headquarters for the Surface Mining and Technology Division west of Interstate 10, just south of West Cushing Street. The facility is expected to house up to 600 executives over the next five years, with an estimated economic impact of $600 million. The motion to approve the money stated that Rio Nuevo would enter into a 25-year lease with Caterpillar for the new building, and Caterpillar would have an option to buy the facility at the end of the lease. The company will be responsible for paying utilities and taxes.
The Tucson headquarters will be a consolidation of five or six Caterpillar sites around the country. This summer, up to 60 employees will temporarily relocate into a Pima County-owned building at 97 E. Congress St.