Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Downtown surface lots expected to see development

A congressional bill expected to be signed by President Obama includes a provision that allows the Municipality to sell five parcels of land in Downtown Anchorage that previously had restrictions placed on them. This includes the land beneath the Egan Convention Center on 5th and E, which formerly was only allowed to be used for civic purposes. The ADN has an article on the story today in which mayor Sullivan pointed to the nearby Anchorage Marriott tower and noted that a development such as that would be possible on the lots being sold by the city. Three of the lots to be sold are in the area of 7th and I Street, which as you may know is in bad need of development as it is currently overrun by surface parking lots. Once upon a time these asphalt blocks had small cottages with gardens and lawns, but while a few remain today, much of the neighborhood was knocked out during the oil boom years of the 1970s and 80s causing much uproar among Anchorageites and prompting historical preservation. Anyways, for at least the last decade I have imagined a better Downtown Anchorage in which the empty blocks on the western end of the townsite are filled with five or six story apartment/condo blocks with commercial retail on the ground floor facing the street. The Lofts, formerly a hotel on 4th Avenue that was converted to appeal to young professionals, is testament to the fact that there is a market for downtown living, and it's pretty obvious that a good unit in a good building in the heart of downtown is rare. You can live along the edges of the downtown townsite, such as Bootleggers Cove, South Addition, or Government Hill, but finding a living arrangement within the townsite bounded by 9th Avenue to the south, L Street to the west, 3rd Avenue to the north, and C Street to the east is quite difficult. Three years ago when I was in Antwerp, Belgium, I took this photo of residential buildings that I thought were a good example of what I'd like to see in west downtown. Finally I have an excuse to use this photo xP


taken in Antwerp, Belgium. Great city btw, worth a visit