Five historic Midtown homes at the corner of Speedway and Euclid will be relocated and rehabilitated as part of a deal between a student housing developer and neighbors in the West University neighborhood.

Alabama-based Capstone Communities is planning a building with 418 beds for students, with an entrance on Speedway. The development will also include another 30 townhouse style units for non-student tenants with an entrance on Euclid.

Neighbors in West University have been meeting with the developer on and off for five years.

We were a little bit worried, said West University Neighborhood Association President Betsy Larson. We have a past history of these really powerful, high-density student towers. And theres been a lot of negativity surrounding them. And its really made a big impact on our neighborhood.

So what we were really concerned about is: How do we keep the high-density student housing from crossing West over Euclid into our historic core? And so one of the ideas we had was Well, we need to build our neighborhoods resiliency.

And Capstone has agreed to do that. The buildings design is shorter than other nearby developments, and also lacks balconies or rooftop pools as a way to address concerns about noise.

Capstone also plans to invest in new sidewalks and ramps in the neighborhood, leading to nearby Catalina Park. There are also plans for a longer right turn lane on Euclid in front of the new building to address traffic concerns.

Neighbors tell KGUN all of that has made them more hopeful for the future of this historic corner. Larson described a neighborhood meeting with Capstone last month as more positive than I think weve ever seen before.

We really saw an opportunity here for developers and neighborhoods to really come together and figure out a path forward, she said.

The next step would be Tucsons mayor and city council approving the recent zoning amendment and the plan to relocate the homes.

If that goes through, Capstone will buy the homes and land from the historic home owners and then set up the actual relocation, to empty lots near Second Avenue and First Street.

Capstone says student rents in the new building will be in line with other student housing in the area at the time of opening, which is still a couple of years away.

Landlord speaks on historic homes safety

Bill Hubbard is a professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, but off campus hes an acting landlord for two of the historic homes that are set to be moved. They have been in his family since the 70s.

You can look at these houses and you can think back a century ago when Speedway was Feldman Street. And it was a quiet neighborhood street, he recalled. Unfortunately thats gone. Long gone.

Speedway has been widened since then and the risk has grown. Hubbard says cars have run into his homes three times, most recently five years ago.

I was expecting it. And there will be another one, too, he said. Frankly theres just too much traffic here. We really want to move these houses to a safe location Itll enhance the neighborhood. It will enhance property values, we think.

Hubbard believes his other neighbors are generally supportive of the relocation plan.

The development that theyre planning here I think will end up being a very handsome portal for the U of A, he said. Right now, its just a sad little portal.