The Rio Nuevo Board voted unanimously Tuesday to contribute $2.4 million to The Gadsden Company to assist in launching a mixed-use project in the Mercado District on Tucson’s West Side. 

The project will include 122 courtyard housing units, nearly 13,000 square feet of retail space and an underground garage. The apartments will include studio, one- and two-bedroom units.

Gadsden Company President & CEO Adam Weinstein told the Board at its regular monthly meeting that during the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approval process for the $35 million Monier Building, construction costs increased 12.3 percent, adding to the total cost.

Weinstein acknowledged that the financing is in place, including $9 million of private money, and with the Rio Nuevo investment the project could break ground as early as October.

Construction sales tax will be about $1.4 million and annual sales tax estimates are about $460,000.  The leverage far exceeds the Rio Nuevo average of $10 dollars of private investment for every dollar of state investment.

“This is a great project,” said Board Chairman Fletcher McCusker. “It is with partners we have worked with before, has dramatic sales tax revenue and continues to fill out the District’s western sector.”

Weinstein said neighborhood reaction to the project has also been positive.

“The neighborhood has been aware of this project for several years and several incarnations and has been nothing but supportive,” Weinstein said.

The Monier Project is named after Quintus Monier, who founded the Tucson Pressed Brick Co. in 1896 near Sentinel Peak on the West Side. Monier (pronounced Moan-yay) was a famous 19th-century French architect and designed several buildings in town, including the St. Augustine Cathedral in 1897.

The creation of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District was approved by Tucson voters in 1999, along with an appointed Board, to invest state tax dollars in public and public/private projects to create a vibrant Tucson core. For every dollar the Board invests, the community reaps $10 of construction activity with projects like the AC Hotel Tucson by Marriott, the Arena, Greyhound, the Mercado Annex, City Park, the Marist project and Caterpillar. For more information, visit