Opposition mounts for replacing historic property near U of A - FOX Carolina 21

Historic board doesn't want demolition, wonders if city leaders will listen

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A plan to demolish some historic buildings near the University of Arizona and replace them with a 140 room hotel does not have early support from the neighborhood's advisory board. 

An "eyesore" but a "tough sell" is how the chair of the West University Historic Zone Advisory Board summarized the future for 714 Euclid Avenue.

The developer wants to demolish the properties, which have fallen into disrepair because of a lack of maintenance from previous owners. That can't happen until a building plan and permit are finalized, and several advisory boards chime in on the project.

The first of those boards did not give the project a positive recommendation Tuesday night.

One board member said he worried about setting precedent a if they approved a plan to demolish historic buildings. Even though the properties are part of local, state and federal historic registries, the developer has cited economic hardship for the reason to tear them down.

Other concerns from board members included open space, limited parking and protection for neighbors from the rooftop pool.

Architect Bob Vint said he would consider the suggestions and take them to the Design Review Committee, a later step in the process for the project. Vint answered the question if he planned to push the project through as it is now to city leaders.

"That would be a strike against us," he told the board.

Board member Val Little said Tuesday that she's worried that city leaders won't even consider their input. She said several projects denied by the advisory board have already been approved by city council.

"We've had some pretty rough treatment at the hands of mayorand council in recent years," she said. "It's got to stop."

Little said she, along with the rest of the board, would prefer to see projects that embrace the historic buildings instead of replace them.

Owner Mike Golec said he did not expect a recommendation to destroy historic buildings from a historic advisory board, but he did value the input Tuesday night.

The proposed hotel would include space for retail.

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