A pedestrian walks by City Hall on June 7, 2017. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire File)

A pedestrian walks by City Hall on June 7, 2017. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire File)

Movin’ on up: Here’s how much it would cost to move City Hall

Proposed idea would affect property tax

Juneau City Hall could soon be parked in a new spot.

A plan was presented Monday night during a City and Borough of Juneau Committee of the Whole meeting that would move the city’s headquarters from 155 Seward St. to a new, two-floor structure on top of a downtown parking garage built in 2009 as part of the Downtown Transportation Center.

“I think there needs to be a new city hall, whether any of us sitting up here will ever have a meeting there,” said Assembly member Rob Edwardson, who later added a new city hall in the Mendenhall Valley might make just as much or more sense.

City Manager Rorie Watt said the project would help consolidate City and Borough of Juneau employees to one central location and make things more efficient. A NorthWind Architects estimate puts the price of the proposed New City Hall to cost $26,732,600. Rain Coast Data estimates operating costs custodial, utilities and minor maintenance to be $331,762 annually, according to a city summary.

“I’ll be frank, it’s higher than I hoped,” Watt said.

The plan, as roughly outlined Monday night would be to to recoup some of that cost by selling the current city hall. The property is currently insured for $3.4 million, according to a city summary of the project, and it would be expected to sell for before $2.4 and $3.5 million.

[New Franklin Street shop shows off local craftsmen]

The project would also be paid for via general obligation bonds, and a packet summarizing the project includes three potential payment options for the Assembly to consider.

They were not discussed at length, but they are detailed in city documents.

One option planned for no “down payment,” one called for $5 million and one called for $10 million. The lower the price paid up front, the more that would need to come from general obligation bonds, which would result in property tax increases.

No down payment would result in an increase of .15 mills or a $15 tax increase for a $100,000 home; $5 million would mean .09 or $9 and $10 million would result in .03 for a $3 increase.

There was talk of the project’s necessity, price tag and what the timeline is for the project.

Assembly member Wade Bryson asked how often city employees need to visit a staff member in another building.

“I would estimate it happens all the time,” Watt said. “I would give you another answer, and it’s a little cheeky, not often enough.”

Assembly member Maria Gladziszewski asked if there might be other, cheaper options that could or should be considered.

Watt said alternatives that come up in anticipated public discussion should be considered, but he preemptively shot down one idea that’s often circulated — the old Walmart building.

“It’s four times larger than we need. It’s built as a box store,” Watt said. “It’s high ceiling. That kind of thing.”

There was not an exact timeline provided for the project, but the possibility of bringing the idea to ballots by this or next October were discussed.

[Comic writer talks everything from “Dinosaur Comics” to how Squirrel Girl would fit in with the Avengers]

Assembly member Loren Jones said if residents are going to vote on the idea this year, there needs to be a concerted effort to get information out as quickly as possible.

The city manager was ultimately instructed to go out and seek public input, which was what said should be the next step in the plan.

“The one thing I fear is the public feeling this is pushed too hard or too fast,” Watt said.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Sept. 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

A bracket fungus exudes guttation drops and a small fly appears to sip one of them.( Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Water drops on plants

Guttation drops contain not only water but also sugars, proteins, and probably minerals.

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a foreign vessel in the Bering Sea, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across the guided missile cruiser from the People's Republic of China, officials said Monday, Sept. 26.  (U.S. Coast Guard District 17 via AP)
Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

This wasn’t the first time Chinese naval ships have sailed near Alaska waters.

An Alaska judge has ruled that a state lawmaker affiliated with the Oath Keepers, Rep. David Eastman, shown in this February 2022 photo, may stay on the general election ballot in November even though he's likely ineligible to hold public office  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge ordered delaying certifying the result of the race until a trial scheduled for December.

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the region. It was a massive storm system — big enough to cover the mainland U.S. from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas. It influenced weather systems as far away as California, where a rare late-summer storm dropped rain on the northern part of the state, offering a measure of relief to wildfire crews but also complicating fire suppression efforts because of mud and loosened earth. (AP Photo / Peggy Fagerstrom)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

ANCHORAGE — There’s been significant damage to some roads and homes in… Continue reading

j
Sniffen indicted on sexual abuse counts

Sniffen will be arraigned Monday.

In this undated file photo the Trans-Alaska pipeline and pump station north of Fairbanks, Alaska is shown. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Oil price drop endangers plan to fund Alaska schools a year early

If oil prices fall, amount is automatically reduced to an amount the state can afford. At

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau Police Department announces technology and reporting updates

Emergeny services and direct reporting will not be interrupted

Most Read