Oct 31, 2013 1:33 AM by Sam Salzwedel
TUCSON - A new audit reveals it could cost $100 million to make the Tucson Convention Center a competitive venue.
Johnson Consulting performed the independent audit of the Rio Nuevo District, stating, "We estimate that addressing the needs at the TCC, plus incentives to adjacent hotels, will cost $100 million or more."
Last February, the Rio Nuevo Board agreed to pay for at least $6 million in upgrades.
The firm compared Tucson to other cities that are convention destinations.
The Rio Nuevo Board responded, "We agree whole heartedly and are committed to look to ways to finance those kinds of improvements."
El Minuto Café is directly across the street on the south side of the TCC. George Shaar has been working there about 15 years.
"People look at us as a prime location next to the Tucson Convention Center," he said. "And if there's not as much traffic going to the Convention Center, I don't think it can be considered the same prime location as it's often referred to in the past."
He said business is healthy because they have built a loyal customer base over the past 77 years, but the TCC is often a problem.
"We definitely feel like we're cut off from Downtown," he said. "It's a barrier rather than a bridge. It's a bridge when it's active. It's a barrier when it's not active."