Customers gather in the seating area of an expanded food court area on Franklin Street on Friday. Reconstruction work that began last fall was recently completed for the facility scheduled to be open between May and September. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Customers gather in the seating area of an expanded food court area on Franklin Street on Friday. Reconstruction work that began last fall was recently completed for the facility scheduled to be open between May and September. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Franklin Street facelift: Sites of former Elks Lodge, Glory Hall debut new eateries, housing

Expanded food court opens at former lodge site; donut shop and low-cost apartments replace shelter.

Two historically prominent locations on Franklin Street are now operating as newly renovated eateries and affordable housing, including a food truck court expanding into space where the Elks Lodge stood until it was demolished last year. A few blocks further down the street a donut shop and low-income apartments made their debut this week in the former Glory Hall homeless shelter.

Both projects reached completion during the past few weeks after years of planning, bureaucratic struggles and controversy.

Opening in a completely new role is the three-story building at 247 S. Franklin St. that for many years operated as the Glory Hall that provided meals to people experiencing homelessness and could shelter up to 50 of them in dormitories. The shelter moved to the Mendenhall Valley in 2021, with Glory Hall officials then engaging in a two-year legal and permitting battle with the city to convert the building to commercial space on the first floor and apartments on the upper floors.

Daryl Cryts and Megan Seitz, both lifelong Juneau residents, try the donuts and drinks at Jellyfish Donuts and Dumplings on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Daryl Cryts and Megan Seitz, both lifelong Juneau residents, try the donuts and drinks at Jellyfish Donuts and Dumplings on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

On Sunday morning the official grand opening of Jellyfish Donuts and Dumplings took place on the ground floor, with owner Brianna Krantz saying business was brisk during the initial hours.

“We’re nearly sold out,” she said at about 1 p.m., noting she and her staff made 700 donuts for the 7 a.m. opening.

Krantz, who has operated a Jellyfish Donuts in Ketchikan for the past five years, said she was looking to expand in Juneau and the former Glory Hall building ended up being an ideal site that aligns with her community involvement work.

“We donate in Ketchikan to the homeless shelter,” she said. “Every day if we have any leftover doughnuts or any leftover food they consistently go to the homeless.”

Brianna Krantz, owner of Jellyfish Donuts and Dumplings, shows works by local artists on Sunday that will be displayed and sold at the eatery. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Brianna Krantz, owner of Jellyfish Donuts and Dumplings, shows works by local artists on Sunday that will be displayed and sold at the eatery. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Among the handwritten signs — including one encouraging $20 “pay-it-forward” donations — was one advertising salmon donuts, although they were sold out by midday. Krantz said it’s one of her shop’s unique (and non-sweet) concoctions that features cream cheese rather than frosting. The shop also plans to sell dumplings of various types such as momos (Nepalese) and shumai (Thai) — plus art (featuring jellyfish among the designs, naturally) by local residents.

The upper two stories of the building have been converted to seven apartments — six efficiencies and a one-bedroom residence — which tenants began moving into Monday, said Mariya Lovishchuk, executive director of the Glory Hall. She said certificates of occupancy for third-floor apartments were approved last week and she expects those for the second floor early next week.

“People are moving in,” she said. “We have six filled up and we have one more opening which I’m sure is going to get filled up as soon as the apartment is ready.”

Signs for Jellyfish Donuts and Dumplings hang Sunday outside the building formerly occupied by the Glory Hall homeless shelter. The donut shop officially opened on the ground floor on Sunday, with tenants moving into seven apartments on the upper two floors beginning Monday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Signs for Jellyfish Donuts and Dumplings hang Sunday outside the building formerly occupied by the Glory Hall homeless shelter. The donut shop officially opened on the ground floor on Sunday, with tenants moving into seven apartments on the upper two floors beginning Monday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Applicants were chosen from partner agencies in town, with eligibility based on being below 60% of the area median income, Lovishchuk said. She said rents are based on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development fair market standards, which equate to $1,138 a month (all utilities included) for the efficiencies and $1,305 for the one-bedroom apartment.

Converting the building got bogged down — adding time and cost to the project — due to the legal standoff with the city that involved issues such as municipal code stating construction projects in avalanche and landslide hazard zones can’t increase occupational density — and whether permanent residences rather than temporary shelter violated that code. Construction on the building finally started early last November.

“They’re really nice,” Lovishchuk said of the finished apartments. “I’m so happy with how we came out. I think they’re really homey and it’s actually kind of better than what I expected.”

A more obviously visible change along Front Street is the three-season food court at the intersection of Front Street, now occupying a lot where food trucks have operated for several years as well as an adjacent space where the Elks Lodge stood. In addition to more food sellers as well as two bars, there is now a large seating area that’s partially sheltered with fire pits providing heat at some tables.

Customers line up at the Deckhand Dave’s food truck at the entrance of the owner’s expanded food court on Franklin Street on Friday evening. The food court that has been open for years now occupies the lot where the Elks Lodge stood until it was demolished last year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Customers line up at the Deckhand Dave’s food truck at the entrance of the owner’s expanded food court on Franklin Street on Friday evening. The food court that has been open for years now occupies the lot where the Elks Lodge stood until it was demolished last year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The property is owned by David McCasland, who opened his Deckhand Dave’s food truck downtown in 2016, and has since purchased adjacent lots including where Gastineau Apartments stood until they were destroyed by a fire in 2012, and Elks Lodge No. 420 that was built in 1908 and used in 1913 to convene the first territorial Legislature of Alaska.

The expansion, which stalled for the past couple of years with city agencies due to infrastructure and operations issues, received a conditional use permit from the Juneau Planning Commission in April. McCasland has previously said he is also interested in building housing on the hillside behind the food court, but told commission members that remains a long-term possibility without a specific timeline.

Among the first “events” in the expanded space was a tribute party Friday evening for former Eaglecrest Ski Area Manager Dave Scanlan after his forced resignation earlier this month. One of the organizers, Dave Hanna, owner of Alaska Concrete Casting, said the food court is a vast improvement for locals and visitors over the long-abandoned Elks Lodge that some officials have declared beyond repair.

Patty Collins and Dave Hanna gather with others at a tribute party for former Eaglecrest Ski Area Manager Dave Scanlan at an expanded food court on Franklin Street on Friday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Patty Collins and Dave Hanna gather with others at a tribute party for former Eaglecrest Ski Area Manager Dave Scanlan at an expanded food court on Franklin Street on Friday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

“I really applaud Dave for having the courage to do this,” Hanna said, noting it’s a sizeable investment for what can be an unpredictable tourism industry in Juneau. As for the Elks Lodge, “I think it was a godsend they tore it down because it was ready to fall down.”

McCasland told city officials about 35% of his customers are local residents and the plan is to operate the food court from May until September each year, with a future possibility for winter operations. Several residents interviewed Friday night — who said they were there for reasons other than Scanlan’s party — said they’ve been regulars at the food trucks at the site in the past years and few knew much about the Elks Lodge history.

“I love the fact that there’s bars that Alaskans can go to where they can enjoy the outdoors,” said Jessie Crites, a local spa owner.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

Former Eaglecrest Ski Area Manager Dave Scanlan hugs a supporter during a tribute party to him at an expanded food court on Franklin Street on Friday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Former Eaglecrest Ski Area Manager Dave Scanlan hugs a supporter during a tribute party to him at an expanded food court on Franklin Street on Friday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

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