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Tucson’s Hotel Congress in first phase of renovation plan

July 24, 2021 GMT
Electrician Clifton Zenizo of Maxim Electric digs the trench where the electric lines will run to power the misters in the Club Congress Plaza at Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson, Ariz.,  on July 15, 2021.  Tucson’s iconic hotel is getting a revamp that some staff say is more than a century in the making. The historic property is slated to re-open Aug. 12 after the first phase of a $750,000 remodeling effort.(Cathalena Burch/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
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Electrician Clifton Zenizo of Maxim Electric digs the trench where the electric lines will run to power the misters in the Club Congress Plaza at Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson, Ariz., on July 15, 2021. Tucson’s iconic hotel is getting a revamp that some staff say is more than a century in the making. The historic property is slated to re-open Aug. 12 after the first phase of a $750,000 remodeling effort.(Cathalena Burch/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
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Electrician Clifton Zenizo of Maxim Electric digs the trench where the electric lines will run to power the misters in the Club Congress Plaza at Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson, Ariz., on July 15, 2021. Tucson’s iconic hotel is getting a revamp that some staff say is more than a century in the making. The historic property is slated to re-open Aug. 12 after the first phase of a $750,000 remodeling effort.(Cathalena Burch/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Tucson’s iconic Hotel Congress is getting a revamp that staff say is more than a century in the making.

The historic property, which has been closed all of July, is slated to re-open Aug. 12 after the first phase of a $750,000 remodeling effort, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Todd Haney, general manager, said the new improvements include expanding the outdoor plaza where they typically host concerts. The space will have a retractable canopy with a commercial misting system.

David Slutes, the hotel’s entertainment director, said they want to be able to have more concerts during the summer months. But when it’s cooler, the canopy won’t be up.

“That’s really the goal, to expand the usage,” Slutes said. “We still want to have concerts under the stars because that’s the best.”

Inside, the 2,200-square-foot (204-square-meter) Copper Hall will serve as a jazz music lounge and tasting room highlighting local wines.

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The hotel is investing more than $100,000, and Rio Nuevo, the tax increment finance district, is chipping in $600,000, according to Haney.

“Coming out of a pandemic, we are phasing everything we are doing on the availability of our resources,” Haney said.

Built in 1919, the hotel’s 102-year-old cast iron pipes are also in need of a makeover. Replacing the plumbing has been in the works for three years, Haney said. The hotel has been doing patch-work repairs over the years.

“We can’t continue to run a business with 102-year-old plumbing infrastructure,” Haney said.

The Tucson landmark has weathered several events over the decades. In 1934, the hotel caught fire. The blaze ultimately led authorities to notorious bank robber John Dillinger, who was hiding out there with his gang.