The Diocese of Tucson recently announced nearly complete plans for the renovation and construction of several buildings in the Cathedral Square project.
The plans were presented to the public during a press conference for local media held on Jan. 30. The press conference included architectural drawings of the proposed projects, comments from Bishop Gerald Kicanas and from Steve Hastings, chief of real estate services for the Foundation for Senior Living (FSL).
Cathedral Square is a group of projects to restore several historic buildings to full use, to provide needed housing for low income seniors, to provide a beautiful space for prayer and reflection and to construct a 50,000-square foot office and meeting complex.
Funding for the diocesan portion of the Cathedral Square is being generated by gifts from generous donors. The substantial estimated $25 million investment by the FSL with the addition of the diocesan contribution to the Cathedral Square will bring in an estimated $40 million in building projects into downtown Tucson, and reflects the Diocese’s commitment to investing and staying in downtown. Three of four deteriorated buildings will be renovated and used by St. Augustine Parish, the Diocese and by other groups and individuals. Those buildings include:
Marist College, built in 1915: The Foundation for Senior Living has agreed to lease Marist College and to renovate the building into a Senior Community Center and eight senior apartments at no cost to the Diocese. FSL also needed land to compete a seven-story low income apartment building near the Marist College building, but was unable to locate the needed land. FSL then offered to buy the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center and so the Catholic Foundation, which owns the Pastoral Center building, agreed to sell the building to ensure that Marist College could be renovated. Once finished, the new building will house 75 low income senior apartments.
Our Lady’s Chapel, built about 1916: Diversified Construction has begun restoration on the Chapel. John Alan, the artist and interior designer who completed the interior renovation of St. Augustine Cathedral, now is planning the interior for the chapel so that it will be a beautiful space for daily Mass, weddings, quinceañeras and individual reflection for those in the downtown area.
The St. Augustine Rectory built in the late 1890s. The parish rectory is the oldest building within the Cathedral campus. While structurally very sound, it is in need of a wall, porch and roof repair, electrical and plumbing upgrades and general updating to become a comfortable residence for priests living there.
Perhaps the single biggest project of Cathedral Square is construction of a four-story Diocesan education meeting and office complex on the site of the current Cathedral Hall.
This new complex will provide offices for the Diocese to replace those purchased by the Foundation for Senior Living, and the building will include a state-of-the-art conference, pastoral and educational center for use by the Diocese, the Cathedral and the community.
“For years this diocese has struggled with the lack of space to hold training or to gather various groups and ministries together,” said Bishop Kicanas. “With the construction of this new building, we will have office and meeting or training space to assist with our outreach to parishes. The space also will be available for public use, such as meetings and receptions, making the building a good resource for the downtown community.”
The Catholic Foundation has been working with donors to raise the needed funds for the large building, and currently has about $4.6 million in cash and pledges for the project.
If you would like to contribute, please visit the Catholic Foundation’s website at