The University of Arizona has asked Pima County to include a 10-story office tower and a museum in downtown Tucson as part of a county general obligation bond referendum that could go to voters in November 2014.
A county bond advisory committee is considering almost 100 projects totaling more than $1.3 billion.
UA’s $176 million proposal is the first time the school has sought help from Tucson or Pima County to finance facilities. Phoenix voters in 2006 approved more than $220 million of GO bonds to establish a downtown UA campus.
A referendum of between $500 million and $750 million will be presented to voters next year, county officials said. A series of public hearings on the bond proposals is scheduled through fall.
The effort includes a new $100 million museum and pedestrian walkway between the Tucson Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art that would focus on significant cultural points along the downtown route.
The Stravenue/Wilde Way Urban Development Project a 125,000-square-foot museum and a renovation of the historic county courthouse to house the school’s collections of Western and Native American art.
The $76 million, 10-story Pima County Small Business Entrepreneur and Academic Center would include classrooms and serve as a small business incubator.
The university current leases a county-owned building in downtown for graduate business classes.
The county bond advisory committee is expected to meet this week after last week’s session was canceled because the required public notice was not posted in time.
The county has been working on a bond proposal since 2006 but financial conditions have not been favorable. Several projects on the original list have been completed with other funding sources due to the delay.
Pima County’s $450 million of outstanding GO debt is rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service, AA by Fitch, and AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s.