Juneau Community Foundation donates Assembly Building to Legislature

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An historic Art Deco-style building close to the Alaska Capitol is the latest donation to the state by the Juneau Community Foundation.

The Legislative Council voted this week to accept the Juneau Community Foundation’s donation of the former apartment building at 211 Fourth Street in Juneau to add to the Legislature’s Capitol complex. With this gift, the complex now totals five adjacent buildings.

Located directly across the street from the Thomas Stewart Legislative Office Building, the Assembly Building was built in 1932. It will be refurbished once the Legislative Council determines the best use of the facility, which could include legislative housing, consolidation of legislative offices not located in the complex, and leased space for private entities, the Legislature said.

The building is likely to need extensive renovations, may have asbestos, and has five leases that will likely remain under existing agreements while plans for the building are finalized. The appraisal report says it is structurally sound; it has underground parking, which is an asset in Rain Country. Monthly rental income is $18,582, or approximately $222,987 per year, and annual operating expenses are $220,000.

Legislative Council Chair Sara Hannan of Juneau said she was pleased by the donation: “As a representative for Juneau in the House, I thank the Foundation for such a generous demonstration of its commitment to the Legislature and to the City and Borough of Juneau. The Assembly Building will play a valuable role in the operations of the Legislature and the Capital City’s capacity to welcome lawmakers from across the state year after year.”  

“What is now an underused building can make Alaska’s government work better for the whole state,” said Sen. Jesse Kiehl, also of Juneau. “This private gift will help Alaskans from every corner of our state gather in the capital to do the people’s work.”

Both Juneau Democrats have a keen interest in staving off any attempted capital move, something Juneau struggles with regularly, as others around the state express unhappiness about the distance to the Capital City. Juneau understand the repeated attempts to moving the Capitol as an existential threat to the city.

Purchase of the Assembly Building was made possible by the Juneau Community Foundation’s Juneau Capitol Fund. The purpose of the donor-advised fund is to assist and support the City and Borough of Juneau and others to augment and improve the State Capitol complex.

Since 2014, the Juneau Capitol Fund has provided $3.4M in grants for projects, including major upgrades to the interior and exterior of the Capitol itself; Gavel to Gavel equipment in the Capitol; purchase of the Behrends House donated to the Governor’s Office; and upgrades to Capital School Park. 

10 COMMENTS

  1. I think if Alaska just changes towns for its Capital, cost will be prove less costly after the move. This way the majority is on the road and the few legislators sprinkled on outlying towns, they have more friends and more affordable housing accommodations.The majority of the legislators look for their first opportunity to leave Juneau and go back north.

  2. As the swamp digs in deeper.

    Only way the capital ever moves is if there is a voter revolt of massive proportions. Even then it’s doubtful. They ignore us anyway

  3. Another botomless pit building, far from the majority of citizens, to waste Taxpayers’ money bringing it up to code, maintaining it, insuring it, and paying utility bills……

  4. Juneau is revitalizing the downtown area. By giving this away, they don’t have to foot the bill for renovation or demolition, which every would be cheaper. This leaves room for more gov’t entities, foundations, non profits, etc. Something Democrats love. We have many more dilapidated buildings downtown just like this, many worse. Others will be sold to private entities very cheaply for renovation into housing. I’ve heard these investors will get a 12 year moratorium on property. Sweet deal as I imagine you will need to be in the know to get these (you’ll need to be a liberal also).

    • Jim Collman, The sad fact is that the “revitalization” of Downtown Juneau or any urban area begins with providing decent housing. This Apartment Building should be converted back to it’s original use, which was for Housing! The Building in question is structurally sound, made especially so since it is constructed of concrete. As for Wayne Coogan’s comment, Juneau indeed pays an extremely high price to keep the Seat of Government in Downtown Juneau. From operating their own airport to providing free covered parking for Legislators and their legion of staffers to this , yet another giveaway and fleecing of the remaining property taxpayers. In the end, the bitter end, keeping the Capital in Juneau is antithetical to any revitalization of that city. Keeping this disease, known as Government in Juneau dictates the direction of Urban Planning, leaving a vacant shell when the Legislature is not in session. You in J-Town understand that last comment, kind of like South Franklin Street October to May.

  5. The most important thing is this building is being removed from the tax roles to make the few remaining taxpayers all the more burdened. We need to go totally communist because then the government can provide everything we need. We won’t need to work any more. We can just have fun with our universal basic income from our government.

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