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Residents to meet with developer to discuss future of Benedictine Monastery

Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 01:17:13-04

A local chapel is at risk of redevelopment.

The Benedictine Monastery on Country Club and Speedway is now owned by a new developer who has housing plans in the works.

Resident Jennifer Bond says, "we need to keep things that are so iconic and gorgeous." 

The chapel is hard to miss and the developer, Ross Rulney,  paid nearly $6 million for it last year. 

At first, there were thoughts of turning the monastery into student housing, but nearby residents like Erica Richter were unhappy.

"I don't want student housing here. I don't want them to tear this down. I don't think that's what the neighborhood needs."

The building doesn't have historic protection, so the developer can do what they want. He does want to hear from neighbors and present other options that could save the chapel. 

Councilman Steve Kozachik says, "in order to build something other than student housing he [Rulney] needs a rezoning. He wants to build a seven-story high-end apartment complex that he would market to something other than students."

Kozachik hopes the developer isn't set on that idea.

"I am hoping that he would lower the intensity, massing, and height of this."

Neighbors are feeling hopeful the developer will hear them out.

Claire O'Connor says, "I love that this building is iconic in the sense that it makes Tucson special and I think it's part of what makes places like this magical."

In the meeting, the residents will try to convince the developer to register the sanctuary into the Tucson Historic Preservation because it currently is not.

A public meeting will be held at 800 N. Country Club Road on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.