Peach Properties Bear Fruit All Over Downtown
By Teya Vitu
Just about anywhere you turn Downtown, Peach Properties has a project on the verge of transforming this or that corner.
Look to Downtown’s northeast corner and you’ll find Peach revitalizing the Warehouse District at their 1 E. Toole and 119 E. Toole warehouses.
Thunder Canyon Brewery, 210 E. Broadway, the 50 E. Broadway proposed restaurant and the vacant lot at Broadway and 5th Streets are all Peach properties soon to add more life to the burgeoning Broadway.
Peach also has the right to buy the 8.41 acres of city-owned land along Interstate 10 and south of Congress Street, where the temporary Greyhound bus station is located.
2012 is seeing a continual stream of these projects coming to fruition.
“This is a busy time,” said Ron Schwabe, owner of Peach Properties along with his wife, Patricia. “Things are starting to kind of kick in.”
Most noticeable will be the openings of Thunder Canyon, slated for October or November, and Patricia Schwabe hopes to have a restaurant ready for 50 E. Broadway by September.
“It’s a different version of Tooley’s,” Ron Schwabe said about the small restaurant they own on South Park Avenue in the Lost Barrio. “The name changes every couple weeks. We have a full liquor license.”
Thunder Canyon isn’t Schwabe’s only plan for 210 E. Broadway. The brewery will fill only 9,000 square feet but Peach has additional 7,000- and 3,000-square-foot spaces in the building most recently occupied by the Tucson Academy of Leadership & Arts.
Peach acquired the Toole Avenue warehouse in Arizona Department of Transportation auctions. First came 1 E. Toole, formerly known as Zee’s Warehouse, in November 2009, and 119 E. Toole came to Peach in April 2010.
Last year, Borderlands Brewing opened in part of 119 E. Toole, and Dinnerware Artspace occupied the other part but has since moved on. Schwabe is negotiating with a wine distributor to fill the 119 vacancy.
1 E. Toole, however, has been in a holding pattern since Peach acquired the warehouse at Stone and Toole. The building has been stabilized and upgraded, but signing tenants will be tied to the Joint Courts Complex building taking more shape across the street.
“We’re talking to all sorts of people,” Schwabe said. “The courthouse coming out of the ground brings a whole different type of interest to that property.”
For the time being, developing the 8.41 acres of freeway frontage road land is out of Schwabe’s hands. He has the right to buy the property from the City, but now he awaits resolution of the City of Tucson and Rio Nuevo litigation, a part of which concerns which entity actual owns this parcel.
Schwabe calls the project “The Greenline” and has brought on Ryan Construction, the same Phoenix firm that built the new UNS Energy Corp. headquarters, to build nine- and four-story with commercial and office mixed uses.
He also plans a 120-room urban boutique-style hotel.
All this would be closer to Congress Street. Plans for the southern half of the property are still more conceptual but will likely include apartments and a new Greyhound terminal.
“The city and Rio Nuevo will determine the direction (of the southern acreage),” Schwabe said. “We’re just trying to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves,” Schwabe said. “The western gateway is so important to the city. It’s such a dead zone, but it has great potential.”
Peach Properties and Oasis Tucson/Capstone Development were both selected as potential partners with the University of Arizona in response to requests for proposals for student housing along the proposed streetcar route. Peach’s plot at Broadway and 5th Street is across the street from the Oasis/Capstone student housing project, which started construction this month.
Schwabe’s enthusiasm for student housing has cooled off in the past year.
“We got skittish with student stuff,” Schwabe said. “We’re going forward with market-rate residential,” Schwabe said.
He’s planning 170 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units on three levels above a two-level garage. A couple months ago, Schwabe applied for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 221(d)(4) mortgage insurance, which insures lenders against loss on mortgage defaults. Schwabe said it could take up to a year to secure this federal support.
In the meantime, that property could become student housing after all.
“Capstone keeps coming around saying they want to buy that property,” Schwabe said