A Tucson cathedral and surrounding complex that for nearly 80 years served as the home to a Benedictine Monastery is on the verge of being redeveloped for residential use.
Built in 1940, the 87,000 square-foot structure has been called the “Pink Rose of the Desert,” and hailed by preservationists as being one of the most important buildings designed by well-known Tucson architect Roy Place.
With its intricately detailed Spanish Renaissance façade, expansive red clay tile roof, and ornate interiors, the former Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration structure has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for more than two decades.
The property at 800 N. Country Club Road, lined with orange and palm trees, was sold late last year to Tucson real estate developer Ross Rulney. Last month, the remaining sisters still living and worshipping at the monastery moved to what is called the Mother House for the order in Clyde, Missouri.
Rulney, with extensive experience in residential development throughout Tucson, has said that he wants to redevelop the facilities on the 7-acre site for use as luxury apartments. But he has also indicated that the structures could be re-purposed for student housing.
In several public meetings, Rulney has said he is committed to preserving the façade of the cathedral and as many of the iconic architectural details of the property as possible.
Members of the Miramonte Neighborhood Association, representing an area adjacent to the property, say they are particularly opposed to the monastery being redeveloped for student housing.
More details regarding the future of the site are expected to be made public in the coming weeks, especially if that site needs to be rezoned for the purposes of the redevelopment.
By Garry Boulard
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