Assembly committee briefed on City Hall options

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Assembly Public Works and Facilities Committee was updated on the four alternatives for a new City Hall during its meeting over the Noon hour Monday.

    Engineering and Public Works Director Katie Koester provided the update and started with the option calling for renovation of the current facility.  She said that option would require $11.1 Million in investments that are needed to renovate the facility.

    She said of the option that calls for constructing a new city hall atop the Transit Center at Main and Egan.  Koester called this one of the more affordable options in the $30 Million range.  "Because the foundation work has already been done, that option is attractive."  On the negative side, she said is that it would displace some existing parking. but she added that parking could be added.  

    Another construction site is on Whittier Street where the former State Public Safety Department Building once was.  Koester said it really grows a section of downtown as kind of a cultural and civic center.  She mentions that Centennial Hall and the State Museum are nearby.

    On the negative side is this area would be a good location for affordable housing which is a top Assembly goal and developing office space would take away from that potential need.  In addition, it is not in the downtown core.

    Then there's the former Kmart and Walmart Building.  She talked about the pros and cons, starting with the pros, by saying there's a lot of room there which is located centrally to all the constituents, and parking would never be an issue.   But the building has been vacant for some time and the land is not for sale currently so there would be a lease associated with it.  In addition, Koester said it would displace an opportunity for a large retail development.  She said it is probably one of the only good spots for large retails left in Juneau.  It's also twice the size city hall would need.

    The next step comes with Wednesday evening's public meeting and then following that meeting.  Koester said she will report back to the committee on the public meeting during its February 14 meeting.  At that time, she said the committee will ask to prioritize the top two sites.  At that point, staff will develop an economic analysis of the two sites.  Then the Assembly will be asked to select a preferred alternative.   At that point, a potential bond package could be developed for voters to consider in the local election come October.    

    The city hall public forum gets underway at 6 p.m. Wednesday via Zoom.



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