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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

New high rises cast long shadow

Hub+At+Tucson%2C+an+apartment+complex+popular+among+UA+students%2C+on+Sept.+14%2C+2015.+Neighboring+buisnesses+and+cultural+centers+have+been+having+issues+with+high-rise+apartment+complexes+in+the+area.+%0A
Zi Yang Lai
Hub At Tucson, an apartment complex popular among UA students, on Sept. 14, 2015. Neighboring buisnesses and cultural centers have been having issues with high-rise apartment complexes in the area.

For businesses and community centers on the northwest corner of campus, the addition of new high-rise apartment complexes to their immediate skyline has been a less-than-welcome one.

With the new Hub On Campus Tucson 2 opening this fall, and another act of vandalism from residents directed toward the Islamic Center of Tucson, business owners and community members have begun to express their concerns.

The New York Times, in a lengthy report last week, documented incidents of harassment, vandalism and the throwing of trash and bottles from complex balconies directed at the Islamic Center and members of its congregation. 

While issues involving residents of the complex have caused tensions with the surrounding community, the building themselves have also been a source of adversity. 

Melody Gregory, the general manager for Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue, one of the two businesses living in the shadow of the high-rises, said there is reason to worry about the construction of the new complex.

“There is a little concern, especially for the cars in our parking lot,” Gregory said. “When the first tower of Sol y Luna was completed, we had windshields broken by residents who were throwing cactuses off of the 15th floor. We’ve also had eggs thrown.”

Gregory said she is hopeful that these types of problems will not happen again when the new complex opens its doors.

Not everyone sees the new apartments as a problem.

Maria Mazon, owner of Boca Tacos y Tequila, said the new living spaces shouldn’t be too much of a problem and might actually serve as a benefit.

“I don’t see the apartments as a negative thing,” Mazon said. “It will bring more people into the restaurant.”

While not everyone can agree about the new apartments, most say they are unsatisfied with the construction.

“It’s been annoying. I’ve had tires popped by nails that have fallen from the construction site,” Mazon said. “Parking has also been a problem. I asked the workers repeatedly to stop parking in our parking lot, seeing as we only have about ten parking spots as it is. They finally stopped when I started towing them.”

Gregory said business at Mama’s has also taken a hit since construction started.

Although they aren’t thrilled about the new apartments. They remain hopeful the tenants of the new building will not be unruly.

Those not upset with the high-rise apartments, however, are upset with the residents. The complexes have made efforts to quell some of the bad behavior by removing unruly tenants. This happened following multiple acts of vandalism towards the Islamic Center.

“GMH Capital Partners and its affiliates will not accept any action that involves throwing anything from any of the balconies or residencies at any of our properties for any reason whatsoever,” wrote GMH Capital Partners in a letter to its residents following the vandalism.

The letter also said Sol y Luna, which GMH Capital Partners owns, will be offering sensitivity training to its residents, as well as creating an open dialogue with the Islamic Center of Tucson.

“We, as a company and as a property, do not tolerate violence towards humans of any race, creed or color,” said Bruce Pilarczyk, senior vice president of marketing at GMH Capital Partners.

As a further precautionary measure, Sol y Luna changed its video surveillance. Prior to the most recent act of vandalism on the Islamic Center, Sol y Luna’s surveillance cameras were motion-activated. Now, they are on constantly.


Follow Nick Johnson on Twitter.


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