State agency kills controversial Juneau parking plan

Acreage along Juneau’s downtown waterfront won’t be converted into a parking lot for state workers after all. That’s following a state agency canceling a tentative deal to lease a parcel owned by the Alaska Mental Health Trust and convert it into 102 parking spaces.

This map appeared in a Dec. 22, 2017, notice from the Alaska Department of Administration seeking proposals for 100 off-street parking spaces in the area bounded by the red lines.

The City and Borough of Juneau criticized the arrangement. The city has been pressing the trust to sell the 2.8-acre property to developers seeking to build a marina and marine science attraction to be called the Alaska Ocean Center that would connect to the city’s seawalk.

The developers have complained they offered more than 3 million for the land – above its assessed value – but the Trust Land Office has not responded for more than a year.

Bob Janes, an organizer behind the proposed Alaska Ocean Center, said the parking lot had threatened his project. Now he says he and his partners will continue to press for the trust to sell.

“We are renewing our pursuit of purchasing the property,” Janes said Monday. “We hope that Mental Health (Trust Authority) gets in contact with us and it happens quickly.”

The parking lot plan came about late last year after the state Department of Administration released a request for proposals seeking 100 parking spaces around the State Office Building.

It had awarded the bid to the Trust Land Office on Jan. 31. But it revoked the tender on Friday, citing regulations allowing it to reject offers that aren’t in the state’s best interest.

Editor’s note: KTOO’s building sits on land leased from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. KTOO has also applied for and received occasional grants for special reporting projects from the authority.

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