Surprise: Quinn-Davidson plans to take homeless out of Sullivan Arena and put them in Tudor Road former Alaska Club


After thousands of dollars in theft, vandalism and other damage to the Sullivan Arena, the acting mayor of Anchorage has finalized a plan to buy a controversial building near a midtown family neighborhood and move vagrants out of the arena.

But she will leave the final decision to buy the old Alaska Club building at 630 E. Tudor Rd. to the incoming mayor.

The Sullivan Arena has seen major damage, from urine soaked concrete to stolen equipment since from Mayor Ethan Berkowitz turned it into a homeless shelter last year to help spread out homeless during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson asserted today that more people were made homeless by the Covid pandemic, which necessitates buying a building. That claim is disputed, since evictions were outlawed during the past year. Quinn-Davidson said the Sullivan Arena is “a national model for mass care shelter facilities that safely provide hundreds of people each night with shelter, food, and connection to services.”

Today, over 700 individuals are living in the Municipality’s shelter system, the Mayor’s Office said. More than half — approximately 400 — sleep in the Sullivan Arena each night, with more staying in hotels that are on contract with the city.

Former Mayor Berkowitz told reporters last year the Sullivan would be a temporary solution. Federal funds for the Sullivan are expiring at the end of September, which will be about 18 months after the arena was taken over.

Quinn-Davidson became acting mayor in October when Berkowitz resigned in disgrace on Oct. 23. Her term ends July 1, but she has formed a plan to transition 415 people out of the Sullivan by Aug, 31. The plan includes:

• Housing 75 people via Housing First Case Management contract, which will bring on 12 new case managers

  • Housing 75 people via existing case management resources
  • Sheltering 90 people in existing locations, including nonprofit shelters (as reduced need forphysical distancing allows increased capacity), assisted living homes, or hotels until case management resources can support a transition into housing
  • Sheltering 125 people at a new facility and help these individuals out of homelessness byconnecting them to resources
  • Transitioning 50 people to respite care

The old Alaska Club building at 630 East Tudor Road would become a 125-bed shelter.

It is this very building that activated thousands of Anchorage residents to take part in protests against moving vagrants into their neighborhoods under the former Berkowitz planned use of CARES Act funds last year. The planned purchase of four buildings created such a major reaction in the public that Anchorage ended up electing a conservative mayor in Dave Bronson, who will be sworn in July 1.

Read: Acting mayor removes Alaska Club building from homeless shelter plan

“Last summer, the Municipality had considered purchasing this building. During the due diligence process, the Municipality ultimately determined that the total cost, including purchase price, repairs, and renovations, was no longer fiscally prudent. At that point, the Municipality terminated the purchase and sale agreement,” Quinn-Davidson wrote in a statement. The final purchase price, including closing costs, is $5.436 million, which is $1.4 million less than the original price.

Read: Anchorage is proud owner of Golden Lion Hotel

Over 900 people in the community have signed a letter saying they don’t want the building repurposed for shelter.

The Municipality has not closed the transaction, and has extended the closing date to July 9, leaving the decision to the incoming Mayor Dave Bronson.

Quinn-Davidson briefed incoming Mayor Dave Bronson ahead of today’s announcement.

“The Mayor’s Office looks forward to collaborating with the next administration to find ways to support the return of the Sullivan Arena to its original use and to ensure hundreds of people are not left out in the cold on Anchorage’s trails and streets this fall,” Quinn-Davidson wrote.

Read: Assembly buys building for Alaska Black Caucus


  1. In other words, the non elected mayor has now created a problem for the incoming, elected Mayor…
    He will be accused of being anti homeless for rejecting this non feasible building.

  2. A healthy private sector and less government….and a return of morality and a healthy work ethic

  3. Yes there is a homeless problem in Anchorage but it did not start with Covid, there camps all over long before Covid. Hence trying to classify the issue as Covid cause in order to wrongly use funds designated for Covid relief is simply dishonest. For those that may be experiencing homelessness due to Covid, they should soon be employed. I highly doubt though that there are very many, if any, that are actually living on the streets as a direct result of Covid.

    On the other hand Covid has caused a rise in mental health issues and addiction. Using the money to provide grants to already established programs for help in these areas would be a better use that very likely could help with homelessness as well.

  4. For starters there is an any one solution.
    Anchorage Police Department are told to stand down and have never written a citation to someone giving money from there car to a panhandler on the street corner.
    When you see Incapacitated person passed out on the sidewalk and three emergency vehicles around them and eight personnel tending to them. The sole reason they are passed out is that person given money at the intersection.
    If you lived in a dry village and no possible means of ever being employed due to managing Alaska as a park, anchorage is really enticing.

  5. “What is the solution for care of the homeless?”
    Shelter. Bare bones. Cheap. In controlled settings, not in neighborhoods, not in business districts. Will the homeless and the bleeding hearts like it? Of course not. Too bad. If they wander away and camp in unapproved areas, collect them up and deliver them back. Repeat as needed.We can’t afford to buy them homes.

  6. WORKFARE – Oh, right, that’s racist according to CRT.
    I spent the last two summers hosting a campground, just to make ends meet. Can’t do it this summer. Just plain tuckered out.

  7. @harborguy If you get good at coddling the indigent your reward is more of them. Stop coddling them at all and instead develop a work program where if they’d like a hot and a cot they’ll have to have earned it. If not, allow them the dignity of drinking or drugging themselves to an inevitable conclusion that ultimately allows them to comfortably freeze to a sidewalk somewhere and end the burden they place on the productive citizens of Anchorage.

    There are some genuinely defective folks in that strata that may deserve greater care and there may be a few that touch the system briefly while correcting their work path. The rest of them are career street drunks, the recreationally indigent, and the effluent of village banishment. Don’t spend a nickel on them.

    Crack down on theft and public drunkeness and during the court process let them know that a free ticket to SFO, Portland, or other refuge city of their choice is theirs for the taking and if they ever come back their criminal sentence begins immediately.

    What is it that makes you think they’re a special interest group that merits special care? Were all of them to freeze to a sidewalk this coming December would Anchorage be a better or worse place come spring?

    Caring for the intentionally indigent is a little like putting in a crappy lawn. It’ll always need time, care and money but it’ll never have been worth the effort.

    Remove the logic from that previous statement if you’re a religious nutter that enjoys nonsensical concepts like sanctity of life, etc.

  8. Wow! Berkee was suppose to take care of this issue with the homeless. But he was to busy taking naked photos of himself. Then our so called Assembly put a Puppet in charge that they could control. and Surprise! Surprise! As Gomer Pyle would say now our good ole Assembly is doing some of the things that should of been done this winter. And it’s only because the man they wanted in office isn’t gonna happen!
    People will not forget what this Acting Mayor and the Assembly have done to the People and the Businesses in this City. And believe me Bronson will not be blamed for any of it! The Assembly needs to go! My heart goes out to the Coffee Shop that is in the parking lot of that building on Tudor.

  9. This mess with the homeless: They all need to be taken to Fire Island.
    Then they can drink and do drugs, poop and pee , have sex all they want. I’m tired of seeing it when I’m driving. My grandkids don’t need to see this crap anymore. These people don’t want help. They choose to live like this. The villages have kicked them out and don’t want them back. So, why is this our problem The Tax Payers?

  10. AQD and Berkowitz, in concert with the assembly, managed to funnel millions of dollars into a select few pockets and completely screwed up the Muni for the taxpayer under the guise of “helping the homeless”. The only people that were helped were those running the homeless industrial complex in Anchorage.

  11. Buy them one way tickets to Seattle…they’ll fit right in there and Anchorage will be money ahead in the long run.

  12. I am shocked, shocked at their behavior. To think that a bunch of drunken, drug abusing, mentally ill, anti-social bums would fail to appreciate and respect expensive public property is just beyond belief! Why whoever could have predicted this? They just need one more chance, just one more expensive public building to trash and surely they will reform and become productive citizens this time. Maybe each of the assembly who voted for this lame brain idea can lead by example to take in ten or twelve homeless folks. Or they could be given the choice of a six by ten concrete cell to receive fried bologna twice daily and live alone in their filth until they learn to comply with socially acceptable norms. A fortune is spent to make mental health services available to those who will use them (money well spent). But those who choose to refuse services and refuse to live civilly should not be allowed to disrupt the lives of those who do.

  13. Roof replacement, plumbing repairs and foundation damages was the prior reason for not buying this building (circa 1978 when building codes were not the best). I hope the discounted $1,400,000 covers these items. Gary Sossamon of Athletic Club Holdings, Inc. aka THE ALASKA CLUB PARTNERS, LLC (Entity #: 69309F) will be laughing all the way to the bank to more than double his assessed value of his property: MOA assessed value is $2,361,700 (LAND: $693,900 Building: $1,667,800). The city is not negotiating hard enough to get this good of a “deal”. I wish I could get more than double my assessed value for my property, if and when I sell it.

  14. HARBORGUY, the solution is to start them young. Instill in children a sense of pride and responsibility. Teach children consequences and the laws of nature (basically the Commandments). Have high expectations. Turn off the idiot tube, or at least tune to shows which demonstrate responsibility and respect for all, especially parents and other authority figures (early Andy Griffith shows come to mind). Teach a work ethic. Primary schooling is an apprenticeship to adulthood, and as they are nurtured hopefully they will become responsible productive adults. Some will fail, but with failure they should expect consequences to their actions, like a tiny concrete jail cell or leg irons and a chain gang. As a child we learned consequences from a board with two inch holes. While the circles would fade, the impressions last a lifetime.

  15. Well look on the bright side: some people did finally find a roof over their heads during this plague. Each of them is precious to God, their families and the community. Some did find miraculously their health improving and hope inspite of the plague. Praise and thank God! That is news too. Those who feel inclined should continue assisting the unfortunate along the way. Thank you kind hearted Alaskans for keeping our poorest alive during this politically contrived time of strange illnesses. Thank you Anchorage people for your kindness and character during this odd time. May you each be blessed. Thank you God for hearing and answering so many prayers for each other.

  16. G Aleutian, enabling not only does not help, it worsens the crisis. The Bible says that if a man will not work, then neither shall he eat. (It does not say, if he cannot work). Families are the first line of defense and should be the first line of rescue. After rejection by their families, to foster their dysfunction does not help these poor people, it only enables them to fall further into dysfunction to end in misery. The best thing that the community can do for them is to DEMAND for them to live civilly according to societal norms so that perhaps they can one day return to productive human beings proud of themselves. Dependence and dysfunction crush the soul. By allowing them, even encouraging them to continue existence under these circumstances not only destroys these people, it destroys the community. Oh, but progressives can say “how good am I to take other peoples’ money to give this junkie a roof and another fix.” In the long run, we help people much more by helping them learn personal responsibility. As the Salvation Army puts it, a “hand up” is far better than a “hand out.” Oh, that we could all see through these politicians who are in effect trying to buy votes — with other people’s money (quoted from Jerry Newcombe).

  17. Ak, agree or they get a 10×12 cell.
    Yes start building your walls with, bar wire and electrified.
    These kids now days. They will turn in there parents for getting a spanking, there phones taking away, or put on restriction. I want I want I want, yes for free too.
    Get off your lazy A and get a job. Yes start at the bottom your a kid. Work your way up the ladder, go to school, get good grades, be RESPECTFUL to Other’s

  18. PROUD ALASKAN, again quoting Jerry Newcombe: “I remember seeing a study few decades ago which compared two men, both around 20 years old. One was on welfare, just eking out an existence. The other had a minimum wage job. They both received about the same amount of money. The one working might well have thought, “Why should I have to work so hard and receive so little — especially when my neighbor doesn’t work and ‘earns’ the same?”
    Five years later, the working man had advanced well beyond minimum wage, while the welfare recipient was still eking out an existence. Ten years later, things were even more disparate. And so it goes. Fostering dependence and paying people not to work has consequences.”
    I’m pretty sure that ultimately the welfare bum ends up an ANTIFA protestor complaining about the inequity of the system.

  19. A large percentage of the homeless are homeless because that is the way they want to live. They enjoy taking drugs, stealing for money, accepting handouts and of course drinking their alcohol. Some, a much smaller group, are truly mentally ill and putting them in the Sullivan, a hotel or the CPT Cook will not change any of the these individuals. You may keep them from freezing but they will still fight, rape and steal from each other and the public. Most enjoy living just like they choose. Where are the studies or statistics that prove anything that has been done has actually helped any significant number of homeless people. They will damage and destroy any facilities that you put them in and the tax payers end up paying the bill.

    Maybe the State and city should use the vacant land off Tudor Road or on Third street and obtain shipping containers, remodel them with the bare necessities of heat, electricity, plumbing and cooking, and sleeping facilities. Assign multiple occupants to these same shelters and hire security to deter crime. House the service agencies in 3 or 4 containers to help with their counseling and medical problems. These would be less costly than buying buildings, remodeling them, and much harder to damage. If they continue to panhandle, defecate and urinate in public, use or sell drugs, chronic alcoholism and damage and steal. Arrest and jail will be the best place for them. The mental ill belong in API until both a doctor and judge will certify they are no longer mentally ill or a danger to themselves or others. Giving them pills and turning them loose does not work. The temporary unemployed or homeless that need work would be happy with these shelters until they find a permanent solution.

    I would hope that Mayor Bronson and the Assembly would look at this solution without preconceived blinders. I believe Mayor Bronson will but I can think of only two Assembly members that will. COVID funds are not how to fund this problem but utility sale funds and other Biden handouts might work if he can get them passed.

  20. AKNOMAD, by providing anything you still enable these people. They deserve nothing from the public trough. If they violate the law they should be arrested and appropriately harshly punished. Enabling them only allows continuance of their dysfunctional lifestyle. Make them as uncomfortable as possible and perhaps they will choose to pull themselves from the gutter and become productive human beings.

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