Garrett Schoenberger and Paul Simpson, of Alaska Legacy Partners, bought the previous University of Alaska Southeast book store and administration building in Auke Bay and are offering it as The Jetty for retail options in the Auke Bay area. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Garrett Schoenberger and Paul Simpson, of Alaska Legacy Partners, bought the previous University of Alaska Southeast book store and administration building in Auke Bay and are offering it as The Jetty for retail options in the Auke Bay area. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Former UAS bookstore to be repurposed into ‘hub’ for local businesses

The University of Alaska Southeast closed its bookstore at Auke Bay in late 2014. The next time that building opens, it could contain a combination of a brewpub, a coffee shop, a marketplace or office space.

Two businessmen, both Juneau-Douglas High School graduates, worked out a deal with UAS in October to buy the building and lease it to local businesses and make it a hub for the growing Auke Bay community. Down the line, they would also like to add condos or housing of some sort on the lot behind the building.

The two men, Garrett Shoenberger and Paul Simpson, presented their vision at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday, stressing that they want to cater to local businesses.

“Our objective with this project is not to get Starbucks to go in here,” Shoenberger said. “It’s to get local businesses that can collaborate with one another and that can deliver amenities to a submarket that needs it.”

Shoenberger and Simpson are calling the project The Jetty, and are putting the building out for lease next week, and said they’ve already had interest from a couple local companies. While Shoenberger and Simpson envision something like an Alaskan Brewing Company restaurant or a local coffee shop with a drive-thru, they are open to ideas.

Alaskan Brewing Company Communications Manager Andy Kline said Thursday that they’ve looked at the property, but this isn’t good timing for them to expand there. Currently, the City and Borough of Juneau and the brewery are negotiating the sale of city property to the brewery. This sale (of lots directly next to the brewery) will allow the brewery to expand slightly. With focus being on that expansion, Kline said they aren’t looking to expand elsewhere at this time.

Shoenberger’s background is in commercial real estate, while Simpson has a background in venture capital investments. With extensive improvements to Glacier Highway in the area and to Statter Harbor, the two of them see the area as trending upward. They hope to capitalize on the amount of boat tours (both passengers and employees) that go out of Statter Harbor in the summer, and to serve year-round residents as well.

After Shoenberger and Simpson graduated from JDHS in 2000, they went off to college in Arizona and California, respectively.

Both of them felt the pull to return home, though. During his presentation Thursday, Shoenberger recalled his memories of digging through bins at Horton’s Hardware — which used to occupy The Jetty building. Juneau remained an important part of their lives even when they were away, both of them said, and they wanted to make it an even bigger part.

The two had remained friends after graduating from high school, and talked about collaborating on a project back in their hometown. Simpson said they didn’t find anything in Juneau that fit their skillsets, so they decided to form one — a private equity company called Alaska Legacy Partners LLC.

The Jetty is their first acquisition. The building is 10,000 square feet, with high ceilings and open floors. There’s a mezzanine on the second floor that could fit an office as well. UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield was in attendance Thursday, and congratulated the two men on having a vision for the area.

“The sale of the building from the university is part of our reducing our footprint and reducing our budget challenges,” Caulfield said to the two men, “so I’m glad it works for you and it’s helped us, I would say in that regard.”

Simpson said that ideally, they would like to get leases worked out in the next couple months and open up for business later this year. He said it’s more likely that it could be at the end of this year or early in 2019. Future residential development is still in the initial stages, Shoenberger said during his presentation, and they’re open to ideas from developers.

Shoenberger said the feedback from business owners and residents in the Auke Bay area has been positive so far.

“There’s something going on, and it’s pretty special,” Shoenberger said, “and I don’t think it’s been tapped yet.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

More in News

Meals slated for children in Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend are arrayed on tables at Thunder Mountain High School on Nov. 25, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Luke Adams)
Font of plenty: JSD readies meals for Thanksgiving holiday

Nearly three tons of food got distributed for the long weekend.

Travelers arrive at the Juneau International Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, made up only about half of what the airport normally sees in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Centennial Hall, seen here on Tuesday, Nov. 24, is being used by the City and Borough of Juneau as an emergency facility during the coronavirus pandemic and will not host the annual Public Market which has taken place every weekend after Thanksgiving since 1983. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Want to buy Alaskan? Closed by pandemic, Public Market goes virtual

Normally throngs of Juneauites would be lined up around the block…

To capture the unexpected action- the unrepeatable moment- it should be instinctive.  In order to build the story you have to shoot the adjective.  In this photo the bald eagle had waited patiently for the right moment to pounce on an unsuspecting vole… the unexpected.  The best way to accomplish this is to master the art of the most difficult subject to photograph– birds in flight.  In order to do this you must learn your gear; it must become part of your muscle memory so you can concentrate on the story you are witnessing.  Canon 5D Mark III, Tamron 150-600mm, shot at 600mm, ISO AUTO (1250), F6.3, 1/3200, Handheld. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
Focal Point: Great photos are just waiting in the wings

Learn to shoot the verb (and the bird).

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

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

Construction of the new Glory Hall, above, is going smoothly, said executive director Mariya Lovishchuk on Nov. 24, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Thor Lindstam)
Building a brighter future: New Glory Hall reaches skyward

The structure is rapidly progressing, shouldering aside inclement weather.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Tuesday, Nov. 24

The most recent state and local numbers.

A sign seen near Twin Lakes on Sept. 17 encourages residents to wear cloth face coverings while in public. Health officials are asking Alaskans for help with contact tracing. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Health officials seek help with virus notification

Recent surge created a contact tracing backlog.

Most Read