The former Glory Hall shelter on South Franklin Street is sealed off from the public on Tuesday as workers inside convert the building to low-income apartments in the upper section and commercial space on the ground floor. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The former Glory Hall shelter on South Franklin Street is sealed off from the public on Tuesday as workers inside convert the building to low-income apartments in the upper section and commercial space on the ground floor. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Glory Hall seeking commercial tenant as conversion of former downtown shelter continues on schedule

Low-income housing in upper section expected by May, commercial space downstairs includes kitchen.

The conversion of the Glory Hall’s former downtown shelter to low-income apartments upstairs and commercial space on the ground floor is progressing to the point where a commercial tenant is now being sought, Executive Director Mariya Lovishchuk said Wednesday.

The hope is to get an occupancy permit effective May 15 and begin accepting residential applications for the seven apartments in April, she said. But she said finding a suitable commercial tenant is more complex.

“There’s a little bit of a different process because it’s just a lot less straightforward,” she said. “And so we are hoping to start those discussions with folks — like now.”

[Construction starts on conversion of former downtown Glory Hall shelter to affordable homes]

Conversion work on the building at 247 S. Franklin St. started in November and remains on schedule, Lovishchuk said. The work follows a two-year legal and permitting battle with the city regarding the shelter space for up to 50 people using several dormitories and shared bathrooms.

The ground floor of the former Glory Hall shelter as seen through a front window on Tuesday, as workers continuing converting the building into low-income housing and a commercial space. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The ground floor of the former Glory Hall shelter as seen through a front window on Tuesday, as workers continuing converting the building into low-income housing and a commercial space. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The converted space will feature seven two-person apartments in the upper section, each with their own kitchens and bathrooms. Much of the funding for the project, projected to cost more than $1.5 million, came from various national, state and local grants — including a $300,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation — plus assistance from local individuals, businesses and entities such as churches.

The available ground floor space is about 2,000 square feet and has a commercial kitchen, Lovishchuk said.

“You could definitely run a restaurant,” she said.

As to what type of commercial tenant would be ideal for the space, Lovishchuk said she’s pretty open-minded.

“We would love a tenant who is mission-aligned to us and who will consistently pay rent so that we can help to subsidize our apartment program,” she said.

Lovishchuk declined to specify the rent she would ask from a commercial tenant, but said it will be negotiable.

The space inside the building already looks considerably different than what she remembers while working at the shelter from 2009 to 2021, Lovishchuk said.

“They are 100% done on the demolition, they are substantially through the framing, and mechanical and electrical are going,” she said. “It’s going very well so far.”

“A bunch of walls are out, some new walls are in and it just really looks like a very different place,” she said. “It’s really hard to explain how different that looks, but the space is definitely changing.”

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

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