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Old 06-11-2012, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
312 posts, read 677,492 times
Reputation: 371

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Hello all:

Graphic designer currently living in Houston. UA grad (BFA '93), lived in several cities including Phoenix 2004-2010.

Working on getting my graphic design business up and running. If I get the clients and cash flow I want, I will be pretty much independent and will not need to live in a city for employment opportunities.

Therefore I am beginning to think in the back of my mind about a return to Tucson.

I lived in Tucson 1990-1995. Moved there to attend UA (transferred from UC Davis); met my now-ex-wife there (some of her family is still there), my son was born there, and while living in Phoenix I drove back down to attend a couple of Wildcat football games as an alum.

I can almost taste that pina colada eegee's right now.

This is by no means a done deal but maybe other posters will glean some good info from this thread.

1. During my time in Tucson my favorite area of town was the far east side. Anything Broadway and north, and east of El Con Mall was where I "hung out", even as a UA student. It was the newer and less "grungy" part of town.

In 1993 I lived in an apartment complex off Speedway and Pantano (can't recall the name right now but I could probably find it on Google Maps) while I worked at the Bob's Big Boy on Broadway/Pantano and might consider that area again if rental rates are OK and the neighborhood hasn't turned into the 'hood in the ensuing years. Any advice on apartments would be awesome. Any new multifamily development in the last 5-7 years in that area to be aware of?

2. I will almost certainly be taking Sun Tran at least 90 percent of the time, but will also rent a car from time to time. I use Avis and their neighborhood locations are great, at least the one I use here in Houston. Any experiences with the neighborhood locations in Tucson?
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:02 PM
 
444 posts, read 1,156,878 times
Reputation: 417
It's been 20 years. The city has changed dramatically. Broadway/Pantano area has a number of apartment complexes. I know at least two are very bad for drugs and crime. But the city has also expanded well past this.
I don't know that I'd call the east side "less grungy." Maybe "sanitized," once you get far east enough. There are some good areas in the central part of the city.
My suggestion would be to live close to a supermarket if you don't want a car. Be careful with the neighborhoods though. Tucson is very spotty, but I think it's always been like that.

The only experience with off-airport rental cars in Tucson I've had is with Budget (same company as Avis), both at their North Oracle location (now closed and moved to Tucson Mall) and their Tanque Verde location. They never had the car I wanted and the Tanque Verde one tried to close 10 minutes early once on a Sunday, which would have cost me an extra day. I caught the guy closing the gate. But, overall, they are what they are. You tend to get much better deals at TUS than you do at other airports, particularly IAH and even Hobby, so it's sometimes cheaper to rent from the airport even with the fees.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
312 posts, read 677,492 times
Reputation: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by coatimundi View Post
It's been 20 years. The city has changed dramatically. Broadway/Pantano area has a number of apartment complexes. I know at least two are very bad for drugs and crime. But the city has also expanded well past this.
I don't know that I'd call the east side "less grungy." Maybe "sanitized," once you get far east enough. There are some good areas in the central part of the city.
My suggestion would be to live close to a supermarket if you don't want a car. Be careful with the neighborhoods though. Tucson is very spotty, but I think it's always been like that.

The only experience with off-airport rental cars in Tucson I've had is with Budget (same company as Avis), both at their North Oracle location (now closed and moved to Tucson Mall) and their Tanque Verde location. They never had the car I wanted and the Tanque Verde one tried to close 10 minutes early once on a Sunday, which would have cost me an extra day. I caught the guy closing the gate. But, overall, they are what they are. You tend to get much better deals at TUS than you do at other airports, particularly IAH and even Hobby, so it's sometimes cheaper to rent from the airport even with the fees.
Pantano for all intents and purposes was pretty much the edge of town in the '90s. I've been back a couple of times since.

I've always been able to balance "safe" with "affordable". In Phoenix I lived in a complex with meth heads (I could smell acetone in the hallways some nights) and had to call the Phoenix PD a couple of times, found a homeless guy sleeping in the laundry room one morning, and witnessed a purse snatching in broad daylight and helped give the police report. Other than that it was one of the better apartment complexes I've ever been in - location was awesome and within walking distance of Bashas, Safeway, Walgreens and Fresh and Easy.

A little bit of "rough around the edges" is OK. Looking not to spend more than $650-700/month for a 1BR.

Not too crazy about the central part of the city - I had friends in several midtown complexes and went to a couple of U of A parties as far east as Swan. I don't want to be around a bunch of students, and this is someone who loves the 'Cats and might get FB season tix if I come back. They hit a home run IMO when they hired RichRod. Speaking of which does Sun Tran still run those shuttles to the games?
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:07 PM
 
1,421 posts, read 1,903,890 times
Reputation: 1942
Nostalgia is nice... but you do realize that you can never truly go back and recapture something that is gone right?!
Houston has one of the best economies in the US right now and Tucson has not fared so well...why return?
If you do go back don't forget:
Mi Nidito, L&L, Lerua's, Der Weinerschnitzel, The Sausage Deli, Lucky Wishbone, 'Lil abner's, Guero Canelo, La Parilla Suiza, Casa Molina....
and good luck to you!
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:21 AM
 
2,953 posts, read 6,792,909 times
Reputation: 3534
I'm kind of in the same boat as you, graduated from the U of A and left Tucson in the early 90's. Started looking up old friends to see if it was worth moving back to Tucson and I noticed that not much has changed. My friends that had jobs working at book stores, coffee shops and bike shops were still working in retail. So in Tucson you have guys that are in their late 40's that have been pulling shots or wrenching bikes for 25+ years and putting their U of A degree to good use. Any of the friends that I had with a medium amount of success either moved out of town or are professionals (doctors, lawyers, CPA's).

Pantano was the edge of town in the 80's and now it looks like it is built up past Houghton Rd. Back then Houghton was way out there and we would go out past Houghton to have parties in the desert.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
312 posts, read 677,492 times
Reputation: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by grmi66 View Post
I'm kind of in the same boat as you, graduated from the U of A and left Tucson in the early 90's. Started looking up old friends to see if it was worth moving back to Tucson and I noticed that not much has changed. My friends that had jobs working at book stores, coffee shops and bike shops were still working in retail. So in Tucson you have guys that are in their late 40's that have been pulling shots or wrenching bikes for 25+ years and putting their U of A degree to good use. Any of the friends that I had with a medium amount of success either moved out of town or are professionals (doctors, lawyers, CPA's).

Pantano was the edge of town in the 80's and now it looks like it is built up past Houghton Rd. Back then Houghton was way out there and we would go out past Houghton to have parties in the desert.
Yeah, the only way I will move back is if I am really successful at the business I am starting, and become financially secure enough to not need a regular job, but keep working for myself. I'm in my early 40's and getting tired of "jobs", plus I'm at the age where age discrimination will be a factor in looking for any further employment. I'm no longer cheap, young or willing to put up with "office politics" or other BS because I'm young and "paying my dues".

So while Houston is great and the economy is great here, again, the kind of work I want to do transcends any one city's economy, and if I get the kind of business and reputation I want, I am not limited by location and can live anywhere I please. I just want it to be the right place.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:55 PM
 
Location: outer space
484 posts, read 844,287 times
Reputation: 393
I'd say wait a bit and see how Tucson responds to the street car and what is happening Downtown. Also, will Rio Neuvo ever get on track...

I just was in Tucson and saw a lot of changes over the past year with downtown ripped to shreds to put in the street car tracks and cranes elsewhere erecting new buildings. I take this as a good sign but only after this major project is completed (really maybe a few years after) will we see if Tucson is ready to move forward and become a "destination" second tier city.

Word on the street is that there is momentum finally downtown, mostly due to private enterprise. If the City can get their act together and support this, it could be a great awakening. But the "good ol boy" mentality has lived in the Ol Pueblo for so long that it is easy to be skeptical.

It baffles me at times in that Tucson seems to have fundamentals: good weather, future fuel resources (sunshine), university, and low cost of living. My fingers are always crossed for ol T-Town but it may be "manana, manana, manana..."
(sorry for the missing accents!)
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:15 PM
 
1,028 posts, read 2,070,679 times
Reputation: 384
It seems that the government has been lazy in the 90s, depending on the overflow growth of California and other bigger cities in the west to fuel its growth, and for a long time it worked, overinflating Tucson's real estate till the bubble burst, and then we saw what occurred in that vacuum.

We'll see if the government can make decisions to put it in competition with other small to medium-sized cities.
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