The Marist on Cathedral Square
The Marist College is an Italian Renaissance and Spanish Colonial Revival style building that was built in 1915 by Manuel Flores. Designed by Tucson Bishop Henry Regis Granjon, it is the only existing three-story mud adobe structure in the state of Arizona. Located in the Tucson Downtown core District, it is a landmark building in Arizona and in the greater Southwestern United States. It was added to the National Historic Register in 2011.
Originally a school for boys, it accepted boarding and day students from grammar school through high school sophomores. Bishop Henry Regis Granjon brought the Marist brothers to Tucson to fulfill their commitment to educating underprivileged students all around the world. They did not discriminate against anyone in the community, even during a time of segregation. It remained a facility for education until 1968 when it became office space for the Diocese of Tucson. It then became vacant in 2002.
Current Condition: It’s Falling Apart!
Since its vacancy, it has suffered considerable structural destabilization due to water penetration that came from rooftop leaks and from the scupper downspout drainage system. The moisture became trapped in the adobe and caused the two corners of the building to crack and collapse. Emergency bracing has been implemented to provide temporary stability, however there still exists a clear and present danger of collapse if a permanent solution is not achieved.
The Marist College has been added to the 2012 list of Most Endangered Historic Places by the Arizona Preservation Foundation. This is a list of critically endangered cultural resources of major historical significance to the state. Each of the places on the list is an important historic site but is in grave danger of collapse, demolition or destruction. In an effort to save the Marist, it is crucial that residents, private interests and government officials act quickly to restore elements lending to our cultural heritage before it is too late.
A Prosperous Future
FSL Real Estate Services has stepped in to save the Marist, repurposing this historic site to create affordable housing for low income seniors. Once renovated, the Marist will feature one- and two-bedroom apartments that include a full kitchen, ceiling fans, window treatments, a video intercom and security systems. It will also feature a community room, gym, patio deck and supportive services such as a food pantry, financial literacy classes, computer training, wellness classes and an on-site coordinator provided by AARP.
The Renovation Process:
Renovations on the Marist began in May of 2017. Since construction began, the stucco used is all new and the beautiful beams featured are original, making them over 100 years old. They are solid wood and made of Dutch Elm, unlike glulam timer used today, which is comprised of a number of layers of dimensioned lumber bonded with structural adhesives. FSL took the preservation of this unique building very seriously and the renovated building honors its rich history now and for years to come.