Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tucson's Depot market plan hits a snag

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- Hotel Congress owner Richard Oseran's plan to put a market in the restored lobby of the downtown Historic Depot has run into opposition. Oseran proposes an eatery for the former Central Bistro space to the right of the lobby and a market in about 2,000 square feet of the lobby, now occupied by four benches and a ticket counter. But the Friends of the Historic Depot frown upon converting the lobby into a market, said Ken Karrels, chairman of the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum and a member of the group. "We're not opposing so much as proposing an alternative place," Karrels said. "Why take away this beautiful historic treasure when you could leave it alone and retain it?" Karrels suggests putting the market in the former Railway Express Agency baggage room to the left of the lobby.

Oseran's plans for Maynard's Market come before the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission at noon Wednesday in the conference room next to the City Council Chambers, 255 W. Alameda St., with no action to be taken. Oseran's plan has the approval of the State Historic Preservation Office, said commission Chairwoman Teresita Majewski. Majewski said all aspects of Oseran's proposal may not be understood. "The whole thing is OK because it's all reversible," Majewski said. "Absolutely," Oseran said. "It could be put back exactly to its 1940s splendor. We're not touching the floors or walls." Oseran said the market would not interfere with the Amtrak or rental car counters at the left end of the lobby. The City Council gave the depot space to Oseran rent-free through 2011 instead of paying for tenant improvements in the city-owned depot, 400 E. Toole Ave. [Photo source: Groundspeak Inc.]