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Major expansion planned for Fox Theater

Donations to cover much of the cost
Posted at 8:10 PM, Oct 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-25 23:10:57-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The curtain could be going up on some big changes for Tucson’s Fox Theater. The Fox Theater Foundation is planning a major expansion for the historic theater.

This plan calls for this spot to look very different when the project is complete with an expansion that respects the original theater and enhances what it brings to downtown.

Downtown Tucson changes from a place to work to a place to play as soon as the sun goes down and the Fox Theater is one of the strongest magnets attracting people downtown.

It’s Rio Nuevo’s mission to make downtown a growing asset in Tucson’s culture and economy. Rio Nuevo owns the Fox and now it’s moving to help the Fox Theater Foundation make the theater a bigger attraction.

The plan calls for expansion up to the corner of Congress and Stone, then around the corner and north for almost a full block of Stone.

The extra space will allow for a new entrance, an additional performance space, more restrooms, even a rooftop bar.

Businesses near the Fox understand opportunity for the theater means opportunity for them, as the expanded Fox expands potential for more customers downtown.

Krissi Gerardi of Perche’ No Italian Bistro says, “I think that's a great idea. Actually. I think it'll bring more people downtown and bring more awareness to this really cool area that we're located in.”

The expansion should cost about 21 million dollars with donations to cover much of the cost.

To help the plan work, the Rio Nuevo Board agreed to basically donate ownership of the Fox back to the Fox Theater Foundation. That’s a value of about 2.7 Million dollars. The value for Rio Nuevo is the economic stimulus the expanded Fox will bring to downtown.

Backers estimate by year three after the expansion, the Fox should add about 12 million dollars to the local economy each year.

There are still documents to draw up and sign to cover the donation of the theater back to the Fox Foundation. Then there’s fundraising which Rio Nuevo has agreed to help with. So far, organizers are not projecting how long it will take to complete the expansion.

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.