Walmart in Juneau in December 2014. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Walmart in Juneau in December 2014. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: Consider the Walmart building for the new City Hall

City constraining itself on new location.

I guess City Hall is getting serious about a new City Hall — and perhaps it is time. The old one is old, and city offices are spread around in rented space and that costs money.

But they sure have constrained themselves as to where the new City Hall will be located. Apparently the only option they are considering is building on top of the downtown parking garage. Indeed, the garage was designed and built with something like that in mind. The Assembly and city manager are also fixated on having it downtown.

So case closed. No other locations need apply.

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This includes the old Walmart building. It is located midway between the Mendenhall Valley and downtown, is completely accessible and has a lot of parking. Yet it is out of the question.

“It’s four times larger than we need. It’s built as a box store,” said City Manager Rorie Watt.

But this refusal to even make a serious and honest assessment may belie the real reasons. With the Walmart building, no one would have a cushy office overlooking the channel. And the Walmart store is ugly. It’s a box, and who wants to work in a windowless box?

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Too bad.

What if the building could be had for a song? And what if the costs of modifying it are a lot less than the $27 million estimated cost of building on top of the parking garage? And have they considered that if they bought the Walmart building, there would be plenty of room for a day care center?

The city has been wringing its hands for years about the lack of day care facilities. Here’s its chance to actually do something. But nevermind. Let’s not have anything distract us from our preconceived plan.

Ray Preston,


• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.