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City OKs deal for $167 million convention center hotel

An artist's rendering of the Sheraton Tucson Convention Center Hotel

An artist's rendering of the Sheraton Tucson Convention Center Hotel

The TCC hotel is on.

The City Council, with an “absolutely” from Councilwoman Nina Trasoff and “yeah” from Mayor Bob Walkup unanimously approved a development agreement Tuesday for a 525-room, 25-story Sheraton Tucson Convention Center Hotel.

“We’re coming here to build an astounding hotel edifice,” Trasoff said.

Garfield Traub Development is the hotel developer. Schematic design work will start this month, with construction of a new east-side main entrance for the TCC set to start in September. The hotel will be built where TCC’s grand lobby is now. Construction is to start at the TCC’s west lobby in March 2010.

The $239 million hotel, TCC expansion and parking garage project has become a priority for the city as it tries to save Rio Nuevo from the Legislature’s budget ax.

Focusing on the TCC complex came at the expense of the Tucson Origins museum complex on the West Side.

“I want to make sure we do not forget many of the things voters approved in 1999,” said Councilwoman Regina Romero. “We also have a cultural complex that the people of Tucson voted for.”

Councilwoman Karin Uhlich urged fiscal caution during economic hard times.

The estimated $167 million hotel will be funded with a tax-exempt revenue bond, and certificates of participation will likely pay for the $39 million TCC expansion and $33 million garage, Rio Nuevo director Greg Shelko said.

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