Rob Forbes: Downtown project will revitalize Anchorage

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By ROB FORBES

For decades, politicians, Anchorage Assembly members, and mayors have talked a big talk about the revitalization of Anchorage – and more specifically, our downtown.

We have achieved positive movement around the Dena’ina Center and the Anchorage Museum to the credit of past administrations. We are progressing with development in the downtown transit center that makes it feel safe again for our residents and tourists. 

Private ventures, such as the 49th State Brewing Company, led by Jason Motyka and David McCarthy, reinvigorated another community staple and transitioned a tired area into a booming thoroughfare of the downtown area.

Ginger’s Matt Gill took on the burden of mandates, Covid-19 closures, employee shortages, and inflation and has kept our storefronts and tourists’ full for the past few years. Now it’s time for us to rise up together to support a project that will take a significant leap in the right direction to jump-start our downtown revitalization project.

As you may have likely read in Anchorage Daily News or on Alaska’s News Source, longtime Anchorage property owners Peach Holdings, LLC plan to demolish and reconstruct the 4th Avenue Theatre after a long and storied history as an icon in the downtown area of Anchorage.

According to ADN, Peach Holdings owns all but one lot on the city block between Fourth and Firth Avenues along F and G streets, including the former Key Bank Building, which is currently undergoing a massive transformation. Mayor Bronson has come out in strong support of this new development stating “…the project will be a boost to our economy. Our downtown should be bustling with life.”

I agree wholeheartedly and will do everything within my power to support the project moving forward to provide our downtown with a fresh breath of air, investment, and modernization which is critical and necessary to become what our city is destined to be. We are a great city with great ambition. We must pursue ambition, risk, and innovation instead of living under the nostalgia which impedes our children’s future from attaining the infrastructure that bringabout high paying, quality careers in Anchorage.

I am encouraged by the statement made by Adam Trombley, the director of the city’s Office of Economic and Community Development when he stated that “This is an extremely complicated project,” and that “I’ve never witnessed such coordination between a developer and the municipality.” This is good news for Anchorage, not just for downtown Anchorage, but for all of us!

When the City of Anchorage decides that we will partner with private developers to move projects forward to revitalize our city – we all win. As risk takers and innovators, we must change our perceptions and preconceived notions that fuel an anti-development narrative jumbled with special interest jargon and bureaucratic red tape.

I will work tirelessly for this vision of our city and have every desire to work with the current and future administrations for the betterment of the people of Anchorage. With the knowledge I have accrued in start-up business ventures, real estate, and management, I will ensure this project rests in the interests of the people and that we can capitalize on the private investment offered by Peach Holdings.

Let this great moment serve as a catalyst for private developers. As our city grows and matures into what we are destined to be – the greatest northern city in all of America to visit, live, work, play and raise a family.

Kudos to Peach Holdings. Kudos to Mayor Dave Bronson. Now the work begins on the final act for the 4th Avenue Theatre.

Rob Forbes is a downtown candidate for Assembly for the 12th seat, and is the former owner of Shred Alaska, and partner of the newly developed Eureka small business center.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Make it a great place for the unions and state workers.

    With the war the legislature is waging on the average citizen, they’ll
    Be the only people left to care

    • There is a significant self-styled elite cohort that want just that. They believe that if they can get the Permanent Fund over $100 Billion State government becomes self-sustaining and the State economy can run off the earnings of the Fund. Then like the Juneau economy, they only need a minimal private economy to provide for immediate needs and good UPS and USPS service.

      The Captain Cook isn’t what it used to be but Fletcher’s is a good place for a business lunch and the Crow’s Nest is expensive but good for special occasions or entertaining out of town guests. Sullivan’s is expensive but good for a business lunch though you might have to step over drunks to get from your parking spot. Simon’s used to be a standby, but I haven’t had dinner downtown in three or four years and have no plans to. I really only go downtown for business and I’m usually armed, and I already put one city in my rear view mirrors years ago because you had to be armed to have a chance of living through going downtown.

      I can get anything I want or need south of Northern Lights and west of the Seward Hwy. other than a visit to the doctor and I have to go as far as Lake Otis to pick up my groceries at Fred Meyer. Back during the COVID house arrest period we went out to the Valley a good bit just to escape the communist concentration camp that Anchorage had become. There were lots of happy people and you could tell they were happy because you could see their smiles.

      This is just going to be another failed development that the developer/owner milks for every dime he can get from the MOA taxpayers and either sells it to government or simply abandons it. Downtown Anchorage lies a’mouldering in its grave and nothing will bring it back. There are enough Federal, State, and MOA employees down there to keep a few restaurants alive year round. Anything else that survives down there will have to hope they can make enough between May and September to survive to the next May, and most of downtown will simply be boarded up all winter like the tourism towns in Southeast.

      • I don’t have the same experience in Juneau you seem to, but I’m not blind to its decay.

        I agree completely about the elites trying to turn all of Alaska into Juneau. A place where there is just enough private sector to service the state and union overlords.

  2. Why is it if you go to the Peach Holdings LLC website, it says the developers status is ‘Dissolved’?!

  3. It will be a boom to the downtown – NO – it will be another fleecing of Anchorage tax payers in some from or another. Another mixed-use building that will be a beacon for more liberals to further bring this city to its knees.

  4. There’s no parking on those lots so you have to park and walk. Thats why it’s dead downtown, except for the Damptown refugees squatting in the parks.

    • There is a reason the Wong’s are successful businesmen and you are an anonymous poster

      • ????

        There’s a reason I’ve never heard of you, too. And somehow my life has gone on just fine.

        I could easily pick your nonsensical response apart, but it would be like trying to teach a cat physics.

      • It’s also telling when a person resorts to 5th grade level insults instead of dealing with concepts.

        But you do you, boo.

  5. City needs something.
    Look at any place that’s been “Traffic Calmed” just jammed full of invisible bicyclists.
    Bass Pro shopping area is a prime example of planning by those that have never signed the front of a paycheck.

    • That’s just a tax farm; as soon as the tax benefits go away, the businesses will go away and maybe they can put more government offices there.

    • “Bass Pro shopping area is a prime example of planning by those that have never signed the front of a paycheck.”
      .
      Perfect! Correct!
      .
      Wasn’t that a Mark Begich pushed project when he was mayor? If I remember correctly, pretty much everyone said that development was a loser, but the Begich Admin pushed for it (and approved it) anyway.
      .
      And, your statement still stands, even after that example. Boy Marky might be a “businessman” these days, but I am sure he is spending other people’s money, not a penny of his own.

  6. It will increase climate change. We can’t afford to hurt the environment any more no liberal projects aloud.

  7. At a $ 1.75 an hour for parking and a two-hour limit at the meters downtown they will have to give away free stuff to get people down there. Oh wait, the people getting free stuff are already downtown and they are not making it attractive for the rest of us.

  8. This is a huge tax break that the rest of us will have to pick up the tab on so I don’t see it as a net positive. Just like the Hawker disaster turned into a net zero on the tax rolls.

  9. Safety & Cleanliness, as well as eliminating the vagrancy, should be of the highest priority. It’s the only reason I no longer frequent Downtown establishments and businesses, and the only reason you shouldn’t either.

    • Chris Constant and the Nasty N̶i̶n̶e̶ Eight are moving the homeless, addicts, and mentally ill to Midtown so they won’t be bothering the government employees lunching downtown.

  10. Somehow this project will “revitalize” Forbe’s bank account. I wonder what is Forbes’s tie. Maybe he’ll have to balls to tell us.

  11. Would be very weary of any city dealings with Peach investments especially after multiple shady transactions and poor relations with holdings like the Midtown Northern Lights fiasco and fish processing plant as well as midtown 188 Northern Lights property
    They are not trustworthy in business dealings

  12. “This is an extremely complicated project,” means we’re about to be stuck with the bill for a perpetual boondoggle even our grandchildren will never see, much less use?
    .
    Why must Forbes’ Folly be “extremely complicated”?
    .
    Does it have to be complicated beyond comprehension of ordinary taxpayers so they’ll never be able figure out who should be thrown in jail for waste, fraud, cost overruns, kickbacks too big to hide?
    .
    Is the deliriously blissful declaration “I’ve never witnessed such coordination between a developer and the municipality.” not simply a pointed message that the Big Fix is in, and nobody can stop Forbes’ Folly?
    .
    Should be interesting to see what “revitalize” means for drug pushers and bums… deportation, internment?
    .
    “Ambition, risk, and innovation” are great when subsidized by other peoples’ money, when ambitious, risk-taking innovators don’t have a clue what success looks like or what it’ll cost people whose lives and livelihoods are already wrecked by China flu hysteria and runaway inflation.
    .
    What does this mean: “we can capitalize on the private investment offered by Peach Holdings.”?
    .
    Seems reasonable to ask what part of “private investment offered by Peach Holdings” might come from Communist Chinese investors. Since it’s “private investment”, of course we don’t know and probably never will. But shouldn’t residents know who’s buying up their city and why?
    .
    Who’s in charge of this never-before-seen “coordination between a developer and the municipality”?
    .
    Who’s negotiating, on behalf of Anchorage residents, the terms of this “private investment offered by Peach Holdings”?
    .
    What are the terms of this “offer”… who’s on the hook for Forbes’ Folly if it fails; if investors back out; if they build it and nobody comes; if Eaglexit happens?
    .
    What protects taxpayers from liability if Forbes’ Folly turns into another Port of Anchorage debacle?
    .
    Who the hell is Peach Holdings anyway… who are their investors? What was Peach promised for underwriting Forbes’ Folly, what’ll Peach do if they don’t get what they were promised?
    .
    Of course downtown Anchorage wasn’t left to rot all these years so certain somebodies could buy it on the cheap, get tax breaks in the process?
    .
    Nobody Important is asking these things.
    .
    You’d think boosters of such an “extremely complicated” project would be prepared to answer such obvious, basic, unsurprising questions.
    .
    Alarmingly, they don’t seem to be.

  13. Downtown Anchorage will NEVER be revitalized until at least one major dept. store is opened. Open up a good store and we’ll be back.

  14. Everyone I know will not go downtown. Myself and family will go to Wasilla first to shop downtown has nothing to offer except parking issues and high prices.

  15. Exactly true on the previous 2 comments. It’s not safe to go to many large city downtown areas. I imagine at some point life insurance companies will exempt trips to large liberal cities like they do war zones. Who wants to set up a store or restaurant where smash and grabs are tolerated? Liberals hate the self employed. Remember Obama’s of- teleprompter rant, “You didn’t build that.” He considered the streets and sidewalks his.

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