Norwegian Cruise Lines wins Juneau waterfront bid - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 22, 2019
HomePoliticsNorwegian Cruise Lines wins Juneau waterfront bid

Norwegian Cruise Lines wins Juneau waterfront bid

The City of Juneau this morning was outbid for the Juneau “Subport” property, a section of valuable waterfront along Egan Drive in downtown Juneau. The winning bid was $20 million from Norwegian Cruise Lines during the bid opening this morning by the Alaska Mental Health Trust land office.

The property is located approximately across from the Prospector Hotel, now owned by Ramada Inn.

The 2.9 acre waterfront Subport parcel will stretch out Juneau’s visitor industry corridor and take the pressure off of the core of downtown. It’s also located far from the bar scene, and would allow Norwegian to develop its own tourism orbit and likely increase the visitors to the new Alaska State Museum nearby.

Because the property isn’t staying in government ownership, it will also be a significant source of property tax revenue for the Capital City, as much as $200,000 in property taxes per year, according to some estimates.

The other bids came in well below Norwegian Cruise Lines.

  • Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. – $13,000,000
  • Godspeed, Inc. – $12,800,000
  • Survey Point Holdings, Inc.  – $5,265,000
  • The City and Borough of Juneau – $4,250,049

In Juneau, such undeveloped waterfront property that has the capacity to handle a cruise ship dock, close to downtown, represents a tremendous development opportunity.

The sale was handled by the Trust Land Office, an office within the Department of Natural Resources that manages land assets owned by the Trust.

Revenue generated from the Subport sale will go into the Mental Health Trust Fund, which is like a Permanent Fund for the Mental Health services in the state. Earnings from the Trust Fund allow the Trust to pay for programs that support Trust beneficiaries across the state. These include Alaskans who experience mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance related disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, and traumatic brain injuries.

 The Trust could get as much as $850,000 a year off of the investments from the $20 million, Must Read Alaska estimates.

“The apparent proceeds of the Subport sale will go a long way in serving Trust beneficiaries,” said Wyn Menefee, Trust Land Office Executive Director. “We knew this parcel represented an opportunity to monetize an unique and valuable Trust land asset, and are pleased that our process to determine how and when to sell the Subport has apparently resulted in significant proceeds that will support the work of the Trust today and well into the future.” 

Following today’s opening of the sealed bids, the apparent high bidder has 15 business days to make a deposit of 10% of the sale price and complete a purchase and sale agreement with the Trust Land Office.

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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

  • Huge delta between bids. Interesting that the City and Borough of Juneau were nowhere near the winning bid.

  • Now all they have to do is actually use the land they bought. Some of us remember when the Australian guy whose name escapes me tried to build a waterfront hotel back in the ’80s or early ‘nineties; the Citizens Against Virtually Everything (CAVE) people came out in full force and brought it to a screeching halt. It is extraordinarily unlikely that even a big rich company like NCL will be able to overcome the CAVE people and build anything of consequence and certainly nothing over two floors. Remember, the State Office Building garage was lopped off by several floors so that it wouldn’t block the view from somebody’s house up the hill. Only the fact that it was for a lefty holy grail like public transportation was the multi-story parking garage built.

    That said, it might well have been a good thing for NCL to throw so much money at it to make sure they got it rather than the CBJ, which undoubtedly would have used some of the most valuable space in the State for a new homeless facility or for a gay and lesbian performing arts center or some such thing; building and LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ arts center there there would preserve some of the State employee parking around the old Armory and in the Centennial Hall lot, though there still may be a push to make all State employees ride the bus to work.

    Maybe NCL was just acting in self-defense; you can read the FB comments to see how much the Juneau lefties hate the tourism industry, and it was worth it just to keep the property out of the CBJ’s hands. Or maybe they know something the rest of us don’t. I know I sold everything I had there a decade ago and haven’t looked back.

    • Richard Holden, mate.

      He and your old buddy James Francis Clark fiddled around trying to build a hotel on the waterfront that went nowhere for a lot of reasons, none of which had much to do with the lefty whining.

      Juneau needs two more large cruise ship docks up near the parcel recently purchased by NCL. The CBJ should have acquired this property years ago, assembled other nearby parcels and started on the design and construction of more infrastructure.
      Oh well…….. another missed opportunity.

    • Art, I love your comments. It is good that CBJ did not get their hands on this prime piece of property. I am sure that the CAVE people are gearing up their opposition forces for action though.

  • Art, I wish you wouldn’t be so mealy mouthed and tell us how you really feel!

  • Ok, NCL won the bid! BFD!!!……they will never pay the 20 mil. They will just go into cahoots with RCCL and make a deal! Look out Juneau! Between the two of these cruise lines, they have enough bottom line to buy the whole town! It won’t matter if the capital is there or not…..they will eventually own the town. Look what they have done to Skagway, Hoonah, Ketchican….all under the auspices of “economic development”!..”Bubbles” the whale will take it’s last breathe as a government town. It will be Corporate-Cruise-Lines”!
    ….The “selling-of Alaska”……it just won’t be the same…….

  • It kinda sucks they won the bidding. Cruise lines only help the local economy for part of the year. They own 90% of the stores in town and bring their own employees to town who don’t contribute to the local economy and take up rentals They don’t shop here or go out. I rarely see any of the jewelry store people out.

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