If you drive down Drachman Street in Midtown, youll notice three vintage motels that Pima Community College is eyeing for a new development: Copper Cactus Inn, Frontier Motel, and Tucson Inn.

On Tuesday night, PCCs governing board unanimously voted to look for private developers that are going to propose ideas to them about what to do with those three buildings.

At the meeting, Jude Cook, the owner of the Ignite Sign Art Museum, encouraged the board to reuse the buildings.

Dont tear down the history, dont gut the buildings we have left, Cook said.

He said the Tucson Inn should still keep the office and restaurant but should also add new features.

I can see them being turned into little incubator spaces for businesses tied in with Pima College, he suggested.

He helped restore some of the signs at the Drachman buildings and said because theyre historic, they should stay.

The neon part of this equation is what sets Tucson apart from a lot of communities, Cook said.

District 3 board member Marla Garcia said they dont have money for this project, but thats why PCCs General Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Jeff Silvyn said a private developer could pay for the buildings and lease some of it back to PCC. He said at the end, PCC would keep the buildings.

Kristina Scholz is a part of a group that helped come up with ideas for the Drachman properties and hopes they keep its history.

This was a motor court corridor. Thats a really vital piece of Americana history, Scholz said.

PCCs governing board can still say no to any of the plans developers come forward with. Because they are looking at private developers, board members said tax payers wouldnt have to pay for this project.

Silvyn said the project could take up to 3 years.