Tucson Convention Center Capital Improvements & Parking Structure

  • Location:

    Tucson, Arizona

  • Client:

    Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facility District

  • Construction Value:


  • Delivery Method:

    Construction Manager at Risk

  • Year Completed:

    Completed 2022

  • Specialties:

    Event Centers, Parking Structures

Features & Highlights

  • Constructed two new concrete parking structures, adding roughly 1,000 parking spaces to downtown Tucson
  • Renovated multiple interior spaces and added 32,000 square feet of meeting room space
  • Completed major technology upgrades despite pandemic-related supply challenges
  • Renovated Music Hall house and backstage areas and installed new seating, sound, and lighting system in three months
Project Overview

Sundt, along with its joint-venture partner, Concord General Contracting, began construction of a new parking garage, new meeting space and renovations at the Tucson Convention Center in late 2019. For Sundt, the project was a revisit to a venue it had also worked on in the 1970s. Shortly after construction began, the Covid-19 pandemic presented new challenges and some opportunity. The project team took advantage of the vacant venue to expedite construction progress, allowing major portions of the project to be turned over ahead of schedule.

One of the most notable changes to the convention center was the addition of two new parking structures, adding almost 1,000 parking spaces. This was a highly sought-after feature of the project from the partnerships with the neighboring Barrio Viejo. With one garage being built out of pre-cast, the construction took only eight months after breaking ground. The other garage, cast-in-place concrete, was self-performed by Sundt Concrete and is designed for future development on top of the upper level.

Other facility improvements included updating the Leo Rich Theatre and Tucson Music Hall, renovating the main ballroom and south exhibition hall, adding 32,000 square feet of new meeting room space, updated restrooms, and newly paved surface lots. Major technology upgrades and outdoor landscape improvements were also completed including an update of the TCC Historic Landscape. This historic landscape is an iconic features of the convention center and includes intricate outdoor fountains inspired by Sabino Canyon, a natural area attraction. Originally designed by renowned architect Garrett Eckbo, the fountains sat empty for over 10 years. Sundt restored both outdoor fountains to meet the original 1970s construction; they are now fully functional and use reclaimed water. The fountains are registered as a historical landmark.

As the pandemic progressed, the team faced shipping delays and escalated costs. They began storing items on site in an effort to avoid back-order delays and came up with alternate solutions when necessary, such as the Wi-Fi upgrade. Due to unavailable hardware, the project team collaborated with the electrical subcontractor to repurpose other access points throughout the facility. As events began to return to downtown, the project team continued to make progress on finishing touches while working around event schedules.

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“Because everything went dark, it allowed us to accelerate the renovations. Thanks to our partners, Sundt and Concord, they seized the moment to move rapidly. From day one this crew has stayed on site and worked double time to really deliver this project.”

– Fletcher McCusker, Chair, Rio Nuevo



ENR Southwest Best Projects

Award of Merit
Renovation category

MPA Common Ground Award

San Diego International Airport, Airport Support Facilities
Design-Build Building Category