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Apartments planned linked to Welcome Diner

Mixed use development pitched to Rio Nuevo Board
Posted at 8:55 PM, Jul 25, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In a way, Rio Nuevo meetings are like looking into the future, with projects designed to add new features to downtown and nearby stretches of Broadway. Tuesday, the Rio Nuevo District heard updates on new places to eat and live.

After slowdowns due to the COVID pandemic. Rio Nuevo efforts to boost downtown and Broadway are picking up again.

On Broadway the Welcome Diner closed during the COVID pandemic, now it’s closed as the owner plans a major expansion of the diner and a large mixed development on and near the site of the old Tucson Volvo dealership.

Developer Sloane McFarland made it clear the pictures presented are preliminary. What’s built may look different but it would include places to live along with places to eat.

He says features would include: “Neighborhood Club, neighborhood delivery, the multi family component and a small hotel component.”

Developers are aiming for the permits they need to start breaking ground in eight to ten months.

Rio Nuevo board members also heard an update on old buildings on their way to a new life. Developers are turning two adobe bungalows into a restaurant focused on Tucson’s unique cuisine—cuisine so unique, part of the United Nations recognized Tucson as one of a handful of cities of gastronomy. The other five bungalows and the rest of the site will become complementary shops and other gathering space.

Developer Randi Dorman of Tucson Gastronomy Collective says, “So some of the core plans are the residency restaurant. So this will be a restaurant where every three or four months a different City of Gastronomy chef will join our team to create special menus rooted in heritage and local foods.”

People moving along Broadway can see a lot of restoration on the outside of the bungalows. Images from the developers show the hard work on the interiors to get the bungalow complex ready for its first diners.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.