Monday, November 3, 2008

Glenn Square shaping up

After doing a write-up on the Tikahtnu Commons retail development in Muldoon, I figured I'd at least give some exposure to its rival down the road, Glenn Square. To catch up on the basics, Glenn Square came to be after a Seattle/Dallas based company bought the land from the Municipality in a joint effort with the city to continue the Mountain View revitalization as well as provide retail to what has been a part of town underserved by retail (at least big box chain retail). Glenn Square occupies 25 acres of land that was formally home to a junkyard (my dad's junkyard) and a landfill. Unlike Tikahtnu, Glenn Square is billed as a mixed-use project that will incorporate office space into floors above some of the retail space. So far the city's electric utility branch ML&P has already signed for the future space. Unlike your traditional high density mixed use development however, Glenn Square is more of the same type of development seen in Anchorage for the last 40 years as the development flies in the face of some of the most basic principles listed in the Title 21 Rewrite. That would include the developments failure to put parking in the rear or side of the building along with failing to have businesses facing the street rather than a parking lot. The People Mover does have a bus stop at the site though. But overall, I'd have to say Glenn Square missed its target of enriching East Anchorage and Mountain View and will add little if any benefit to the community. Though Mayor Mark Begich has been a great motivator in truly mixed-use projects (including proposing a 10-story tower himself in 2005) for the city, his blessing of Glenn Square along with the Tikhatnu Commons were a mistake.

Glenn Square blueprint (PDF file). Note that the blueprint itself is a bit dated as it's missing the clock tower while presuming Best Buy as a tenant (Best Buy later opted out for Tikahtnu).

A couple more visuals courtesy of Irwin Development.