Not all roses
While the city’s on the right track, said Hank Amos, CEO and chairman of Tucson Realty & Trust, there’s more to Tucson than just the downtown area.
“It’s a good start,” Amos said. “But I think it can be expanded upon.”
If the city wants to attract large companies, Amos said, they’ll need more room than what the downtown area offers. He wants the more appealing incentives extended to areas around the airport and other industrial centers.
Others say throwing money at wealthy developers to build transportation bureaucrats new offices and student housing won’t jump-start Tucson’s flagging economy.
“It’s phony development,” said Jody Gibbs, an architect who has been critical of other city projects.
Gibbs said giving tax breaks to people who are “phenomenally wealthy” won’t, in and of itself, create jobs with livable wages or affordable housing.
“It’s really not aiding a majority of people in the city and it’s not good public policy,” Gibbs said.
What’s needed is a serious debate over what we should subsidize, he said.
Rothschild said the city isn’t just handing over money. It’s making an investment with a guaranteed return. And that benefits everybody, he said.
As for the future of the program, Kaselemis said he would like to reach out more to small and existing businesses.
“We’re not here just to focus on the huge company with high-paying jobs,” Kaselemis said. “We need to give support to the ones who have been here because they play a very important role in our economy as well.”
“I’m not saying mission accomplished, but if you have a criticism about downtown, you haven’t visited it recently,”
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild
Continue reading Darren DaRonco’s article in the Arizona Daily Star…