Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The City and Borough of Juneau will start construction this summer on a project that will help accommodate the rapidly growing number of tourists visiting Juneau, as well as open up more of the waterfront to year-round use for residents.
The project, split in two phases, will transform the piece of downtown waterfront known as the Archipelago Lot, located between the Marine Parking Garage and Pier 49.
The Juneau Assembly last month approved a sale and purchase agreement with Archipelago Properties/Morris Communications, which owns a large portion of the lot.
This will allow CBJ to build a deck over three-quarter-acre of what’s now open tidelands, vastly opening up the current Seawalk and creating more open space, as well as construct additional bus staging and parking area. These elements are considered Phase 1. Construction will begin in June and is scheduled for completion May 2020.
Phase 2, if funded at a later date by the Assembly, would include a 2,500-sq. ft. covered shelter.
The structure would function as a passenger waiting area during the cruise season and a community space the rest of the year. CBJ’s estimated cost for both public phases is $19 million, with funding coming from the Dock Fund, Port Development Fees, Commercial Passenger Vessel Excise Tax, and Marine Passenger Fees.
The public played a large role in the planning and conception of this project through Docks & Harbors’ Urban Design Plan process. Facilities from both phases will accommodate the safe movement of the increasing number of cruise ship passengers disembarking onto downtown docks. More than 1.3 million cruise passengers are expected to stop in Juneau this summer.
On the privately-owned portion of the lot, Morris Communications plans to construct retail and dining infrastructure. William Morris III of Morris Communications sent a letter to the Juneau Assembly on Jan. 30 affirming his company’s “continuing commitment to go forward with all aspects of the project.” He writes, “We anticipate having the site ready for use by the city for construction of the public portion of this project by late spring.”
The entire lot, encompassing both CBJ’s public portion and Morris’ private investment portion, will be fenced off to the public for two years starting this summer.