State could surplus several properties around state - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, December 7, 2019
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State could surplus several properties around state

Gov. Mike Dunleavy asked department heads in February to investigate options for selling some State-owned properties to help the State save money. In June, a final list was compiled of possible properties that may be surplused, if the State chooses to divest.

The report, finished in June, identifies over $76 million in buildings, and 193,609 square feet. The buildings include Trooper housing in Northway, an Armory building in Fort Yukon, and Telephone Hill in Juneau, a pocket neighborhood adjacent to the State Office Building.

Bosch-Carrigan House on Telephone Hill. City and Borough of Juneau photo.

The Telephone Hill property is one that may have a lot of potential value, but no value is listed in the description, although there is a caution that lawsuits might be filed if the State tries to sell it.

In 1971, the Alaska State Legislature authorized the purchase of the cluster of historic houses. In the 1980s, the City and Borough of Juneau entered into a cooperative agreement to acquire the properties to build a new Capitol building, which never was built.

Then, the Department of Transportation acquired seven of the properties for $4.6 million, and the state has the responsibility for managing the rental housing in the Dixon Street neighborhood, including the home pictured above, which was constructed by Willam Bosch, owner of the Old Stand Saloon on Front Street and was owned by Verna Carrigan, granddaughter of Edward Webster, founder of Juneau and Douglas Telephone Company, according to the city’s website, which lists the building as historical, dating back to Territorial days.

“This was intended to be an interim arrangement but has become very long term,” the report states.

A building owned by the State in Kodiak is also a candidate for surplus. The Kodiak Regional building is only 56 percent occupied by the Departments of Health and Social Services, Corrections, and Labor.

The Mount Edgecumbe Aquatic Center in Sitka, owned by the State Department of Education and Early Development, is a high-value property the Dunleavy Administration may sell. The brand new pool has been open for two semesters and is scheduled to be permanently closed at the end of December.

The pool was funded in 2010 by voters in a statewide bond package. Annual operating costs are expected to be $650,000, but with budget cuts, funds from the State are now gone and the Dunleavy Administration wants to sell the pool.

Numerous armories are listed; these are structures that the State has already actively tried to unload for some time.

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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

  • Sell, sell, sell. Cut the budget now

  • A cardinal rule of bureaucracy is that employment increases to fill space available. Sell all vacant government buildings now! If there is not a buyer, give them away to the private sector (not tax exempt) get them on the tax rolls.

  • Bureaucracies are infamous hoarders of the first degree. Well done, Dunleavy Administration, for taking on the tough but reasonable once again.

  • The analysis of Telephone Hill property in Juneau doesn’t appear to contain annual cost to maintain the property for the state compared to rental income received by the state. Other parcels described in this report do have this information.
    Why is it missing?
    It’s past time for the state to dispose of this property.

  • I agree sell or give away maintenance costs then go away!

  • It would be an excellent strategic move for the State to divest itself of all RE holdings in Juneau. It’s only a matter of time before that artificial economy is abandoned.

  • Maybe the University system will glean wisdom from the Dunleavy Administration and do the same.

  • With Anchorage at 12-15% Class A Office vacancy, once BP vacates 90% of the BP building it is quite obvious that this is the time to move the Capitol from Juneau to Anchorage. Hilcorp would love to have someone takeover the 6 years remaining on BP’s leaseback liability when they sold the property.

    By removing the transportation costs to Juneau from the Budget I would not be surprised to see the “payback” from moving costs to be less than 5 years.

    But honestly, the legislature would hate to be visible and transparent when making those backroom deals to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of the State’s money

  • The House of Wickersham in Juneau is another. It is maintained by the DNR / Division of Parks at an annual loss. As a tourist attraction, it receives insignificant interest. The property has value, but the “historical collection” in the House is nearly worthless, as determined by the State Museum several years ago.

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