TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It's been just over a year since Old Tucson Studios closed its doors. The famous western attraction shuttered because of the pandemic. Now, after a long and at times secretive process, Pima County is getting ready to announce who will take over the lease.
"The proposal period now has closed and they are actively considering whatever proposals have come in," said filmmaker and Chair of the Arizona Film Expo, Daryl Mallett.
Mallet was also a member of the Pima County Old Tucson Task Force. They helped in the county's process of finding the right developer to take over the lease of Old Tucson. Although he doesn't know who County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry will recommend to the supervisors, he does get a sense the decision will be announced soon.
"They're expecting to an announcement later this month or next month," Mallett said in an interview with KGUN 9's Pat Parris.
KGUN 9 reached out to Pima County about a timeline and for a list of finalists for the lease. We received this statement from Scott Loomis, the Design and Construction Division Manager for Pima County Procurement.
"Pima County is in an active procurement process to select an Attractions Operator/Lessee for the Old Tucson Property through a qualifications based selection process. During the solicitation process, we are precluded from interacting with others not already a party to this procurement regarding information related to utilization of the property or assets."
While the county is being tight-lipped about Old Tucson's future, new video of the property shows county workers have done some repairs to buildings and resurfaced the parking lot in preparation for a new tenant.
Mallett says while rumors continue to circulate about who will take over the vacant property, he's confident the new company will reopen Old Tucson as an attraction, but also revive its historic film past.
"There is definitely a deep hope by me and other people involved that they will stand up some sort of film production there again in the future," Mallett said. "Don't get me wrong, there were films being made there. even after the fire back in the 90s. People were still filming in and about the property. There's definitely a hope that something formal will be stood up as part of the package."
So far, only the County knows who the new tenant will be. They're expected to make the announcement in the next few weeks.
Pat Parris is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. He is a graduate of Sabino High School where he was the 1982 high school state track champion in the 800 meters. While in high school and college, he worked part-time in the KGUN 9 newsroom. Share your story ideas and important issues with Pat by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.