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14-story hotel and apartment building to be built near Main Gate Square

A rendering of the new apartments and retail plaza that will be built on University Boulevard. The project will start Fall 2018 and is estimated to be finished by 2020.

The Tucson skyline will have a new addition in the form of a 14-story building that will house a hotel and apartment project near Main Gate Square.

The Marshall Foundation, a private organization that supports charitable and educational institutions, will create both the building itself and a public plaza in the area between the Louise Foucar Marshall Building and the Tucson Marriott University Park hotel.

The foundation has partnered with Core Tucson Main Gate LLC. to bring the project to fruition.

“This project is exciting on many levels and will create a special destination and gathering place for Tucson residents, young professionals, university staff, students and their parents, families with children and tourists,” said Jane McCollum, general manager for the Marshall Foundation.


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The cornerstones of the project are the hotel, known as Graduate Tucson, and the apartments, known as the Collective Apartments at Main Gate. Also included in the development will be retail stores, restaurants and a public plaza. 

Graduate Hotels is a chain of 12 hotels that reside and operate in various university towns around the country, including one in Tempe near Arizona State University. Not including the Tucson location, there are eight more locations coming soon across the country. 

Graduate Tucson will feature 165 guestrooms, a lobby open to students, a cafe, a rooftop swimming pool and bar, a fitness center and meeting and event spaces.

As part of the mission of Graduate Hotels, the Graduate Tucson will feature design that reflects the culture and traditions of Tucson and the University of Arizona.

A rendering of the new apartments and retail plaza that will be built on University Boulevard. The project will start Fall 2018 and is estimated to be finished by 2020.

The Collective will feature 238 apartments, a fitness room, a spa, a pool and private courtyards. Combined, the project will have nearly 6,000 square feet of interior gathering spaces.

Unlike many of the apartments in the area near Main Gate Square, The Collective will not focus on student housing, but rather will offer market-rate apartments to attract adults and families who wish to live in the vibrant neighborhood near the university.

The public plaza area will include art, an interactive musical water feature, an outdoor movie screen and a space suitable for special events and concerts.

“This project offers many improvements to the previous plan that the community will enjoy and take pride in,” said Tom Warne, a consultant with Core Tucson Main Gate LLC. and a UA alumn. “We are excited to move forward.”

DRW Real Estate Investments is the main partner and developer, with Graduate Hotels building Graduate Tucson and CoreSpace building the Collective.

The building and plaza will sit on the final piece of land that the Marshall Foundation owns in Main Gate Square. The foundation owns the land under most of the buildings in the area, including under the Marshall Building and the Tucson Marriott.

Initial plans for a hotel on the land began around 2006, but the 2007 financial crisis and its effects on the real estate industry caused the project to delay for nearly a decade, McCollum said. 

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The Marshall Foundation and its associated developers expect to break ground this fall. The project is anticipated to be complete by July 2020.

While there is no official relationship between the Graduate Tucson and the Collective yet, there is strong potential for the project to integrate itself into campus life upon completion, according to McCollum.

“We are here to support the university,” McCollum said. “We created the first part of the amenity at their request. And now we feel like we need to complete it.”

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Updated February 28, 2021