Breaking: Acting mayor removes old Alaska Club building from homeless shelter plan - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, January 26, 2021
HomePoliticsBreaking: Acting mayor removes old Alaska Club building from homeless shelter plan

Breaking: Acting mayor removes old Alaska Club building from homeless shelter plan

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Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson said today that the old Alaska Club building on Tudor Road is no longer part of the municipality’s plan for housing homeless and vagrants in Anchorage.

“The due diligence process uncovered costs above what was previously estimated, , including roof replacement, plumbing repairs, and foundation damage. When combined with estimated costs for renovation of the space to accommodate day and overnight use, these required repairs would significantly raise the cost of the project. Thus, the MOA concluded that acquisition would not be in the best interest of the municipality, given the increased price tag,” she wrote.

The funds for the purchase of buildings for housing and services for homeless and vagrants is coming largely from the CARES Act grant the municipality received from the federal government through the State of Alaska. The plan was hatched under former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, who resigned in disgrace in October.

 “The administration promised to the Assembly and the public to conduct a thorough due diligence process, and only move forward if the deal penciled out for Anchorage taxpayers,” said Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson. “We are keeping that promise.” 

She noted that more people are experiencing homelessness since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Anchorage still faces an acute and long-term need for additional shelter space.

Over the objections of much of the public, the Anchorage Assembly this summer approved the purchase of the Alaska Club building, the Golden Lion Hotel near 36th and New Seward Highway; America’s Best Hotel in Spenard; and Bean’s Cafe downtown.

The Alaska Club purchase was to come from $22 million of money from the federal government meant to help communities cope with the economic effects of COVID-19.

The public’s objection included the fact that the municipality was skirting the Planning and Zoning Commission, putting vagrant and drug addiction services into neighborhoods in violation of current zoning.

The mayor’s actions may be also in response to current recall efforts against her, Assembly Chair Felix Rivera, and Assembly members Meg Zalatel, Kameron Perez-Diaz. Those recall efforts came after the Assembly approved the vagrant plan.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Didn’t they already put taxpayer money forward towards the purchase of this building? Is it refundable or now lost? Who in their right mind would commit to a purchase without an inspection? Idiots.

  • So this makes one down and three hotels to go!

    If you recall the testimony offered by licensed and experienced architects and contractors NONE of the buildings will “pencil out” without an exorbitant influx of cash from property taxpayers and other sources. Show us all the math, acting-mayor Quinn Davidson, for all of the hotels.

    Now I wonder: How will the CARES Act money, initially budgeted for the purchase of the Alaska Club building, be re-allocated? We need to make certain that Felix Rivera, Chris Constant, and Meg Zaletel have NOTHING to do with this decision-making. These three represent their “very special interests” rather than the greater population of the Municipality of Anchorage.

  • In my book the ‘Anchorage Assembly’ is composed of vagrants, and deceiving sycophants.
    Please pull the plug’ on this swamp.

  • Hilarious!
    .
    Somebody got mad, threatened to blow the whistle because he, she, or they didn’t get a big enough piece of that pie
    .
    …or the scam could have turned into a huge moneymaker but none of the perpetrators were smart enough to figure out how to hide the money magic from their adoring public, or perhaps more to the point, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery.

  • Dang, somebody missed hitting a home run off the City. So close.

  • Heres an idea, how about instead of trying to rip the scab off, why not focus on doing something positive like donate to a local food bank,or something that will help with people that are out of work or worse.
    If you look closely, assuming you get up before 6am, you’ll notice a whole lot of peeps out on the streets or re-arranging their stuff in an awfully full car. I see this every morning commuting to the Great Metropolis by the Inlet.

    • Ya, what a waste of time exposing waste, fraud, and abuse. Can’t we all just move on? Why are people living in their cars when they have beautiful trails to walk on?

  • Sweet. Tear the useless building down and plant some trees.

  • How anyone can justify buying any of the over 45 year old buildings they intend to buy is beyond me. The volume of cash they will burn through to make them useable for the intended purpose is going to be epic. This is another SAP program fiasco in the making and the taxpayers will be on the hook for the whole ball of mud.

  • Go figure, shut down local businesses for months and months and months and Anchorage homeless numbers increase. Can’t wait for the new taxes/fees/charges on “everything”, that are sure to follow.

  • Where do we sign up for the recall of mayor and the Assembly?

  • Also where do we find out if there is a march on the city hall to oppose these measures for the COVID lock down?

  • Instead of criticizing and always finding fault with people that are trying to actually do good work for the general public how about coming up with some solutions and sharing those ideas and policies in a positive way

    • Lack of affordable housing is directly related to lack of affordable land. Who controls most of the land in this State? How do you put it in private ownership of the people who need it, “the general public”? Are you prepared to advocate for policies that accomplish this? What about pushback from people who have equity in their property who would see their wealth decrease? Or people who trade mortgages like commodities? And what about pushback from the Swamp who won’t want to relinquish control of the land because they know what better to do with it than you or I.

  • The acting mayor and assembly along with their friends are worse off than their city’s homeless, addicts, and transient vagrants. Should be talking about building a shelter for the leaders their souls are needing a bigger revival than the shabby dressed homeless.

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