KGUN 9NewsLocal News


Reborn shops on the way for Sunshine Mile

Tenants already lining up
Posted at 8:09 PM, Jan 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-30 22:09:13-05

The Sunshine Mile project aims for a brighter future for a section of Broadway full of classic 1950s architecture. Now work’s about to start to revive a large shopping center at the heart of that district.

Rio Nuevo has done a lot to activate downtown. Now it’s spreading its influence east down Broadway in this area known as the Sunshine Mile.

The shopping center between Country Club and Tucson Boulevard is a prime piece of the Sunshine Mile, an area thriving in the 1950’s that Rio Nuevo and developers are working to make thrive again.

It has been known as the Solot Plaza.

It will have a new life as the Sol Block.

Page Repp has teamed his company Repp + McLain Design and Construction with Rio Nuevo, Larsen Baker Commercial Real Estate and other partners to revive the old Fifties architecture and make it a place for a day of shopping or a night on the town.

“So we got a couple of restaurants coming in. We've got a few small shops. You know, think of hair salons, think of small breakfast places. Think of a coworking type environment, those types of Pilates, exercise studios, those kind of things.”

To make up for parking lost to the Broadway widening, the block gets parking around back, and room for more restaurants and shops.

Repp says renovations should start in April and there’s enough interest that some tenants have already signed up.

Tax breaks and grants from Rio Nuevo are fueling the project along with as much as five million dollars from Larsen Baker.

It’s Rio Nuevo’s mission as a government agency to stimulate business downtown and on Broadway leading out of downtown.

Just a few blocks from the new Sol Block, Marvin Schonebaum at Inglis Florists is looking forward to new businesses bringing in new customers who might want to pick up some flowers too.

“I think they should redevelop the whole area, the more businesses, restaurants, boutiques. Hair salons, the better for us. Most people tend to go from door to door.”

The renovations have to respect the history of this old center. But Page Repp says when it’s done it will be ready to create more history for another 50 to 100 years.