Docks and harbors meets

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Archipelago project, improvements to Douglas Harbor and other projects were discussed by the CBJ Docks and Harbors Board tonight.

    Port Director Carl Uchytil said the design of the Archipelago project is 65 percent complete.  The estimated construction cost for the public portion is $16 million.  He expects the construction could begin in May or June.  It would take about one year to complete construction.

    Allen Grinalds with Morris Communications said a simple swap of properties would configure the lots in a manner that promotes development.  The uplands portion would be the private portion located closest to Franklin Street.  The land close to the sea walk would be used by the city for parking and the public space.

    The private project includes 13,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage and incubator space for future business.  The design will reflect the cultural heritage and authenticity of Juneau.

    "Not only will it be attractive for the visitors coming to Juneau but for the year round residents of Juneau," he added.

    They plan to build a second floor for office space in the building.

    The public portion would include permit tour parking and a covered reception area for cruise ship passengers.

    Grinalds said the current market conditions are favorable for development.  "We could go alone and do a good development.  By working together we can develop a great development for the project."

    He said Morris Communications want to be a long term owner of the property and is committed to Juneau and Alaska.  "We are going to build something we are proud of.  A rising tide lifts all boats.  We want to do our part and be a good steward of the property.  This will be a first class development."

    He mentioned competitive lease rates to help businesses grow and prosper.  The presentation also included an increase in jobs, additional housing and additional revenue from sales and property taxes.

    The timeline includes a development agreement and purchase agreement with the CBJ by the end of the year and completion of construction in 2021.

    He said there will be space for existing businesses for young entrepreneurs.  "It provides local character and authenticity to the development and a chance to buy local goods."  His ideal size for a business is between 800 and 2,500 square feet.  He mentioned a good mix of tenants.

    The Archipelago project will be considered by the Planning Commission on November 13.  Part of the review is the proposed purchase agreement between Morris Communications and the CBJ.  The Assembly Committee of the Whole will review the project on November 19th.  The full Assembly will introduce the purchase and sale agreement and a funding strategy to pay for the project on November 26.  The final action of the Assembly on the two elements is scheduled for December 17. 

    In other actions...

    The Board approved a plan to raze the former ore house building.  A control burn executed by Capital City Fire Rescue will demolish the building.

    The Tlingit and Haida Central Council would like to have the Tlingit and Haida Immersion Park open sometime in 2020.  It would be operated year round.  It would attract native carvers and include light manufacturing and housing on site.

    Board member Jim Becker said the proposal is pretty impressive.  He suggested a traditional fish camp would be a fabulous addition to this complex.

    Board member Mark Ridgway said the site is currently a popular site for parking for locals using the beach there.

    Uchytil said there would be some requirement for public access.  The lease would be extended by 35 years.

    Sandy Williams of Douglas spoke on the need of landscape and beautification of the Douglas boat harbor.  He suggested a sidewalk around the boat harbor so pedestrians can enjoy the view.  "We are not asking for a whole lot.  Certainly not like Auke Bay.  A little bit of landscaping and some flowers could dress it up a little bit and not be a bad idea."

    Board member Bob Janes said they do consider this every year.  He said he would love to get this done and will continue to work on it.

    Board member Weston Eiler said he wonders why there has not been a bigger plan like sidewalks that would lead to something like the harbor in Auke Bay. 

    Uchytil said Parks and Recreation has moved a lot of activity out to Dimond Park.  He said he would like to go in pave it, put in curb and gutter and make it right, "It was never prioritized Douglas Harbor to where it should be.  Its a priorty, we put $1 million in for the 1 cent sales tax but that got no traction."

    He said getting water access at Aurora Harbor and Statter Harbor were higher priorities, in his opinion.

    Eiler said he would like to discuss the facility in the future to refresh his memory.

    Bud Simpson said one of the reasons he got on the Docks and Harbors Board was improving Douglas Harbor.  He said it should be made comparable to other area harbors.  "The reason money wasn't there at the end was the years and years it took to get the thing permitted going through different state and federal agencies."

    He said it took 10 extra years to get things done due to concerns over mercury.  "It was not the lack of will to do it.  It was a lack of money."

    He said the Parks and Recreation Department does use the facility a lot, especially for the July 4th celebration.

    Mr. Eiler said he has paid attention about Pocket Park.  The CBJ Lands Committee opted not to approve a sale for a food truck site.

    Chairman Don Etheridge said Senator Dennis Egan has become involved in the possible removal of the Lumberman from Gastineau Channel.  A discussion on the item was pulled from the agenda and will be discussed again in November.

    The US Army Corps of Engineers plans to dredge and replace the breakwater at Aurora Harbor next year.  The cost is estimated to be $6 million.

    Assembly member Mary Becker reported on recent meetings of the Committee of the Whole and the Lands Committee.  Deck Hand Dave's wanted to buy Pocket Park. The committee turned down the offer.  She explained they will return the application fee of $500.  It will be sent to Parks and Recreation who manage the land for their review.  Juneau Compost wants to lease a former gravel pit that has been exhausted of gravel near Home Depot.  The Lands Committee approved a motion of support. 



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