Polaris building demo starts in Fairbanks


The Polaris Hotel, Fairbanks’ tallest building and biggest eyesore, is coming down at last.

It was built in 1952 with its annex constructed in 1973. Originally designed as an apartment building, it was converted into a hotel but in 2001, 800,000 gallons of water flooded the basement; it was abandoned in 2002. The City of Fairbanks foreclosed on the property over unpaid taxes.

The City of Fairbanks received a Targeted Brownfield Assessment for the main portion of the 11-story building in 2017.

The assessment found asbestos, mold, mercury and PCBs. Because of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), all material will have to be shipped out of state for disposal.

Fairbanks was awarded a $10 million earmark through the efforts of Sen. Lisa Murkowski by way of the Environmental Protection Agency and was waiting for those funds to arrive so the work could begin.

Demolition started with the annex next to the main structure and will continue to the main structure throughout the coming months.

Photo credit: Bob Lype


  1. Fairbanks was awarded a $10 million earmark through the efforts of Sen. Lisa Murkowski? How do you award other peoples money? As for locally, Thanks everyone for giving up 2/3 of your PFD for a Fairbanks project.

      • The “federal government” is some 35,000,000,000,000 dollars in debt. It has no money. Lisa Murkowski just gave away some grandkid in North Dakota’s money. She gave a single mother of 5 in Kansas’s money away. She just pulled the one latte a month from the lips of a cancer stricken octogenarian in Mississippi. That’s the point Frank Banks made above. People, working people, retired people, broke people, wealthy people, future people; that is from whom the “federal government” gets the money it wastes and fritters away. Wake up!

      • Every dollar the FEDs print makes every dollar you and I earn worth less, so I fail to understand why there are people that believe that money from the Federal government has no cost to us.

    • The “Big I” is next. Ugliest building in town. Looks like an old livery stable from the turn of the 19th century, re-sided with old corrugated tin and a few beer posters tacked on. Sure does bring out the town drunks, though.

  2. The lesson is take care of your property: Car, boat, house, so it’s not demolished. If it was immaculately cared for by the owners before its sale, it could still be providing revenue and hospitality employment. You don’t take care of your property you wasted your money purchasing it.

    • Another is I wonder how long the Fairbanks blight property will stay a vacant lot like northern lights hotel’s site which still contributes to continue to West anchorage’s reputation being the biggest eyesore of anchorage. Hahaha. I won’t even drive past c street heading west. Now the farthest I go is midtown Sagaya cause that’s how “ugly” or “blight” that entire west midtown district become. The vacant lot could at least be used as a community garden. If it wasn’t for Abbott, Huffman, east diamond this town of anchorage not be worth the living here. It’s getting to this point another boring blight democrat town.

  3. I remember a time when it was the hot property in town. And a more recent time it was a POS.

    • Get your stuff right. Use your real name on your comments. My name is DAVID PRUHS. Don’t spread purposeful misinformation. The funding came from the Feds ($10m) and the State Capital Funds ($3M). Fairbanks had not received a State of Alaska Capital Appropriation in over 12-15 years!! This had nothing do with taking away a dividend appropriation which would have been another $750+m to the OPERATING BUDGET for a larger PFD. Shame on you for even suggesting such nonsense. I am sure you will now make up new misinformation. Get your stuff right.

      • Uh, Mr. Pruhs……you apparently don’t understand political hyperbole and the ability for critics to mock their supposed leaders. You act kind of defensive. I assume you are a RINO? You don’t seem like you can roll with the punches, guy. I bet you are a minimalist for the PFD too? I live down here near your brother. He made his big bucks in the energy lobby game. I’m sure you have aspirations, but your comment blazes with a tad too much self-aggrandizement, over a piece of lousy real estate. I’m betting our neighbors to the north have that figured out too.

      • Listen, DAVID PRUHS, you know, as well as most people in the borough and city knows, that demolition of that place has been sat on for as long as possible to get the most grift out of it.

        • Why not just build a huge headstone for the tourists to examine:
          Here lies the dust of Polaris.
          Vacated dreams and 70 years of lore.
          A Goliath in it’s day,
          But knocked down by Dave…..
          With $10 million in hand
          And a few more hidden at bay,
          The scourge of Fairbanks
          Finally got shoveled away.

  4. Ah… the Polaris Hotel. Its manager (mid-to-late 1970s) would phone me in the middle of a night at my Fairbanks home to complain about my pipeline construction company’s drunken and fractious out-of-state employees (hotel guests), who were – like ‘Snake River Rufus Krile’ (search on YouTube.com for the hilarious film scene) – “a long way from home.” My reply to the hotel manager: “I’m in bed. Phone the police.” Those were the days!!

  5. “Fairbanks was awarded a $10 million earmark through the efforts of Sen. Lisa Murkowski by way of the Environmental Protection Agency and was waiting for those funds to arrive so the work could begin.”

    Remember, everything the gov’t “awards” was taken from someone else.

  6. Seems to be a lot more money in demolition than in building. Just how do you figure the hazardous materials will be remediated once they reach the lower 48? Maybe shipped to a third world country like plastic is. It’s not so much about the money, but the way it is wasted by eco-hypocrits.

    • The Fairbanks Court House is across the street. During demolition, expect lots of terrible decisions being handed down, while the judges breath in all that dust and insulation by-product.

  7. I remember stopping at the Polaris on my Saturday walk down town with my friend. This was back in the 50’s. We would ride the the elevator until management would run us off. Kids we easily emtertained in Fairbanks in those days.

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