In the two years since Hexagon Mining decided to expand its presence in Tucson and take up residence downtown, the international tech firm isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
The company, which announced plans in 2017 to add 120 high-paying jobs locally over five years, is expanding its real estate footprint at City Park, the downtown development it calls home.
The vision for City Park, 40 E. Congress St., has long included Hexagon, which signed up to lease two floors of the five-story building, along with a bowling alley, retail space and eateries.
But as Hexagon Mining has grown, it took on a third floor of the building and now, with plans to occupy yet another level of City Park, the bowling alley concept has been scrapped.
Only the ground floor will have retail, members of the Rio Nuevo board were recently told, and developers are in talks with some local restaurant concepts, as well as retail.
“The good news story evolved differently than we thought, but still in a good way,” board chairman Fletcher McCusker said, noting that Hexagon has booked more than 3,500 hotel stays in the past year for incoming visitors to its Tucson location. The company has more than 200 employees and added an “Experience Center” on the fifth floor with an interactive showcase of mining technology that Hexagon develops.
City Park owner and developer Don Bourn said the modern building has helped the mining company with its recruiting. Its subsidiaries in Europe now hold training functions in Tucson.
Rio Nuevo voted to take half of a previously approved loan of $2.6 million for the project’s retail component and make it a loan for improvements to the second floor for Hexagon’s expansion.
The $1.3 million equity loan will be contingent on City Park landing a retail tenant for the ground floor within 18 months or the loan will become due in full.
Given the rising labor costs and the potentially time-intense permitting required before a certificate of occupancy can be issued, Bourn asked the board for 24 months to sign a tenant.
Rio Nuevo Board member Mark Irvin scoffed.
“I think 24 months is way too long, in my humble opinion,” he said. “I don’t want to be sitting here in 24 months.”
The compromise was to keep the terms at 18 months with the possibility of pushing to 24 months if significant progress is underway at that time.