Parking issue delays Archipelago project a year

    The Juneau waterfront.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Morris Communications, LLC claims a proposed parking fee would make the project impossible.

    Vice President of Property & Facilities Robert Kuhar in a letter to the Assembly wrote the company still wants to create a development, "With no blame cast at all, it has been a very frustrating process."

    He said the company has already made a number of concessions on the waterfront project.  They note they agreed to reduce the number of commercial buildings from three to two when Docks and Harbors needed to purchase more land than originally expected.

    The company rejected an option to place surface parking on the waterfront. 

    CBJ regulations require 114 parking spaces or a fee-in-lieu charge of $900,000.

    "That kind of charge breaks the financial viability of our project.  We must evaluate the profitability of our development options to decide whether or not to proceed, " Kuhar wrote.

    The company noted they will slide the opening of the project until 2022.  They wanted the CBJ to resolve the parking issue within 45 days so they can stay on schedule.  If they had appealed a denial of a variance before the Planning Commission it would delay the opening until 2023.

    "We are still fully committed to this project, as well as future partnerships with CBJ to include a new museum for the city.  Unfortunately, we find ourselves staring at a brick wall and request your assistance," he added.

    CBJ's Board of Adjustment found that the grant of the variance for a zero parking requirement may be detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare by pushing employees or customers of the development to park in surrounding neighborhoods.

    The master plan for the property that measures 60,000 SF site would include a public plaza featuring a memorial to honor the USS Juneau, outdoor arts and crafts, a boutique shopping experience, a cozy theater, restaurants, food vendors, local merchants, and tourist bus kiosks bound for the famous Mendenhall Glacier, historic Juneau, and famous gold mines.

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