The City and Borough of Juneau will consider whether to offer a property tax reduction to encourage housing development downtown. (File Photo)

The City and Borough of Juneau will consider whether to offer a property tax reduction to encourage housing development downtown. (File Photo)

Assembly to consider tax break to boost housing development

The proposal is a 12-year tax break on new construction with four or more units in a downtown area of Juneau.

A long-standing goal to develop more housing in Juneau’s downtown corridor may get a boost as city officials consider a tax break aimed at increasing residential development.

On Monday, the City and Borough of Juneau’s Land and Resources Committee met and agreed to send a tax-break proposal to the full assembly for a public hearing and a vote.

The proposal, which is modeled after a similar one in Anchorage, allows for a 12-year property tax break on new construction with four or more units in an area that runs from South Franklin Street, up Fifth Street and includes the Willoughby District.

If enacted, people with eligible housing developments in the area would only pay property taxes based on the mandatory school contribution of 2.65 mills instead of the standard 10.66 mills. The reduced taxes only apply to the housing portion of the structure and will be prorated based on square footage.

“I see this as the strongest first step we can take. This literally lays the groundwork,” said CBJ assembly member Wade Bryson during the meeting.

“This plan shows property owners and developers that Juneau means business. Housing is critical to keeping downtown active,” said Jill Maclean, Community Development director for CBJ.

“We need people here. This is a great program. I think it can really help downtown development. Tax abatement is not one size fits all. Nothing is. But we want to do everything we can to help the private sector,” she said.

The proposed downtown tax break is similar to an existing one that encourages the development of assisted living facilities for senior citizens.

[Finance committee votes to hold line on property taxes]

Results in Anchorage

A similar tax incentive has been in place in Anchorage for two years.

So far, 59 new housing units have been added through the conversion of commercial space, new construction of mixed-use units and construction of condos and townhouses.

An additional 66 to 79 units are pending, with the COVID-19 pandemic halting progress.

Housing is a top priority

The tax abatement proposal is one of many strategies to encourage housing development in Juneau that are laid out in the Housing Action Plan, which the city adopted in late 2016.

“There’s been talk and discussion of adding units downtown for a very long time. Probably since the 1990s, said Scott Ciambor, CBJ’s chief housing officer, in a phone interview this week.

“The goal is to develop as many units as possible. It’s a really attractive section. We have the infrastructure to have a 24-hour vibrant area,” he added.

Ciambor said the housing action plan includes 66 specific strategies across nine categories with a goal of developing 1,980 housing units over the next 30 years.

“Turning renters into homeowners will have an important economic impact. Something that can help Juneau’s working families into homes can stabilize our community and our schools,” said Bryson.

Contact Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, June 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
State judge upholds most fines against group seeking repeal of Alaska ranked choice voting

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled that opponents of Alaska’s ranked… Continue reading

Joshua Midgett and Kelsey Bryce Riker appear on stage as the emcees for MixCast 2023 at the Crystal Saloon. (Photo courtesy Juneau Ghost Light Theatre)
And now for someone completely different: Familiar faces show new personas at annual MixCast cabaret

Fundraiser for Juneau Ghost Light Theatre on Saturday taking place amidst week of local Pride events

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire
A section of Angoon along the coast is seen on June 14. Angoon was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in 1882; here is where they first pulled up to shore.
Long-awaited U.S. Navy apology for 1882 bombardment will bring healing to Angoon

“How many times has our government apologized to any American Native group?”

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon announced this week she plans to seek a third three-year term. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Mayor Beth Weldon seeking third term amidst personal and political challenges

Low mill rate, more housing cited by lifelong Juneau resident as achievements during past term.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A king salmon is laid out for inspection by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor during the Golden North Salmon Derby on Aug. 25, 2019. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Emergency order bans king salmon fishing in many Juneau waters between June 24 and Aug. 31

Alaska Department of Fish and Game says low projected spawning population necessitates restrictions

Three cruise ships are docked along Juneau’s waterfront on the evening on May 10, as a Princess cruise ship on the right is departing the capital city. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Sitka residents join those in Juneau proposing hard caps on cruise ships as tourism grows

Two ballot measures could be presented to local voters in the two Southeast Alaska towns this fall

Most Read