Mayor Rothschild and Supervisor Elias Unveil Restored Façade At Historic Downtown Location

February 7, 2014

The 1941 style of the building's façade is back in full effect. Work will continue inside.

The 1941 style of the building’s façade is back in full effect. Work will continue inside.

by James J. Jefferies

Tucson’s recent urban renewal has been a very different process than that which has taken place in other cities. A respect for history and the great architecture of our shared past in the Old Pueblo has been a core tenet of our community’s values. It was very much in this spirit that a group of community leaders, including Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, got together this morning and unveiled the restored 1941 façade of the former Howard & Stofft building at 37 E. Pennington St., a historic location which will now serve as the home of City High School. The plan had been in the works for over two years after the property was selected for a façade renovation grant from the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

Supervisor Richard Elias tells stories of coming here as a kid.

Supervisor Richard Elias tells stories of coming here as a kid, as Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and others listen.

“The era of boarded-up buildings is over for Downtown Tucson,” exclaimed Mayor Rothschild, to rapt applause in front of a small but spirited group of onlookers who witnessed the unveiling. The Mayor went on to thank the Downtown Tucson Partnership and their CEO, Michael Keith, along with the Tohono O’dham Nation, the private sector, and the City of Tucson, all of whom contributed to the 2012 façade grants.

Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias also cited this alliance of benefactors. “Public and private partnerships are how we get things done,” said Elias. Elias also went on to tell stories about how he used to frequent the building as a kid looking for sneakers, when it was a store by the name of Shoe City.

Historic photos and information about City High's plans for the new location were on full display at the unveiling.

Historic photos and information about City High’s plans for the new location were on full display at the unveiling.

Also present was Suzanne (Stofft) Nystrom, daughter of one of the building’s original namesakes, who was there on behalf of both the Howard and Stofft families. “I used to drive by this old store years ago…and I would just cry. It was so pathetic looking,” said Nystrom. “And now today, to see it brand-new and beautiful again, is really special.”

For those curious about the building and its history, a special Renovation Celebration will be taking place this Saturday, February 8th, from 3-6pm at the location. They will be offering a toast to City High’s 10th Anniversary, welcoming partner school Paulo Freire Middle School to Downtown, and there will be music along with food courtesy of Alejandro’s. There is absolutely no admission fee! For more information, check out City High’s website here.

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