Construction. What does that word mean for a community? Growth. Pure and simple, growth. In Alaska we joke and say, “There are four seasons in Alaska, almost winter, winter, still winter and construction!” In the summer it seems like there is construction on every corner from road repairs to homes being built. What about the heart of the city, the downtown that is already built and established? For the most part Anchorage has not seen any new commercial buildings or living dwellings being built in the downtown region for some time, until now.
Just this past summer we saw a completely new concept for building take place in the Anchorage community. A specific type of mixed use. Meaning businesses, shops, restaurants all on the first few levels of the new building with apartment/condo living spaces on the top floors. When I visit friends in Portland, Seattle and other cities this is commonplace. Alaska is behind the times on trends when it comes to development, fashion or most anything for that matter. We march to beat of our own drum and are proud of it. But I am happy to see new growth in the heart of the city. Not only is there a need to create these mixed-use spaces for commercial use, but tying in residential living brings more vitality and warmth to the project and development. It also brings more people to the downtown region, which means more growth.
The Anchorage Community Development Authority just released plans to build Anchorage’s first five-star hotel with 178-rooms, a restaurant, bar, commercial space and 32 apartments on the upper half of the building starting May 1st. They’re using an existing parking garage, adding modular pieces that are being barged over from China, and those will be built right into the façade of the garage. This will allow for much quicker building of the property with an estimated completion date of August 2021. Currently, the garage is home to the city’s public bus transportation which will have to be temporarily moved while hotel construction takes place.
This construction is a significant sign that, while Alaska may be a bit behind the growth curve in terms of modern buildings, fashion and new development, we are still growing, recession or not.