Originally Posted by Ted Lyons
The one saving grace, in my mind, is that Nor-Gen still would have won had Moore graded Peach the equivalent of the lowest legitimate vote cast and Nor-Gen the equivalent of the highest vote cast. In other words, had he scored Peach 700 and Nor-Gen 980, Nor-Gen still would have won. This still doesn't make me feel better about the project given the complete lack of financing for half of the proposed construction and the poor grading on the construction schedule.
If I'm Rio Nuevo, my priorities on this project are construction schedule and available capital. Everyone but Moore scored Nor-Gen lower on construction schedule, which was oddly weighted less than every other field but one.
As for financial capacity, everyone seemingly ignored the fact that much of Nor-Gen's proposal will not be financed by Nor-Gen. Thus, their personal financial capacity doesn't really mean much and the fact that they're relying on ABOR should have probably counted against them.
So, TLDR, I think the decision was flawed but at least Moore wasn't able to game it on his own.
Both proposals for the arena site have their plusses and minuses, and any final design should include some fine-tuning and adjustments. However, I have my reservations that any of these small, local developers can pull off a project of this size ($100M+). Just witness what we have seen with Bourn, Gadsden, HSL (Hotel Arizona), and even Peach (they're still sitting on that big Broadway lot just south of The Cadence, even with the streetcar up and running; ditto for Gadsden and their empty lots in the Mercado District).
And I think it's rather telling that no large regional or national developers threw their hat into the ring on a project of this size. (Maybe the memory of what happened to Garfield Traub on the convention center hotel gave them pause, or how Williams & Dame promptly left town after realizing the byzantine problems they would face in dealing with the city on the One North Fifth project.)
Rio Nuevo will have to take a leap of faith that either one of these proposals can get built, although my money would be on Peach at this point. However, Mr. Moore should have no place on the Rio board, given his abuse of the board's rules and obvious inability to be reasonably objective with his scoring of the RFPs. It's behavior like his that will continue to push away quality developers from doing business here, as the city's reputation of being business unfriendly and the antics of the prior Rio Nuevo boards still hang over Tucson like a dark cloud.