New JACC funding may appear on October ballot

There is a change of plans for the New Juneau Arts and Cultural Center, and the city is being asked to help fund it.

New JACC partnership board members Bud Carpeneti, John Clough and building program manager Bob Banghart gave a presentation asking the City and Borough of Juneau to place a $12 million general obligation bond measure on the upcoming city municipal election Oct. 2 ballot to fund a Centennial Hall renovation.

“This has been the product of discussions within our group and also talking with folks of the city in trying to put together a package that is best for Centennial Hall, New JACC and whole City and Borough of Juneau,” Carpeneti said at the CBJ Finance Committee meeting Wednesday. “It is time.”

The $12 million amount breaks down to $7.5 million to the New JACC and Centennial Hall, and $4.5 million, which has already been approved to the venue by sales tax revenue, would go toward just Centennial Hall. The $7.5 million will come in from a combination of property taxes or a combination of property taxes and hotel bed tax. Hotel bed tax is the amount of taxes visitors pay to stay in a hotel room.

The renovations to Centennial Hall are part of new plans for the New JACC. The three renovations the New JACC members are asking for are a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, an expansion of Centennial Hall’s lobby, the construction of a portion of the New JACC, and an enclosed and heated corridor between the two buildings.

“The current JACC is completely overstressed and it is falling apart,” Carpeneti said. “The overall complex joined together is so much more useful for Travel Juneau in bringing in convention users.”

In a memo sent to the Committee, the New JACC pointed out that Travel Juneau expressed concerns over the size of Centennial Hall and the lack of connectivity to the current Juneau Arts and Cultural Center. Jobs, the board members added, would also offer an economic impact while construction will be done.

“It will be an economic engine for Juneau,” Clough said.

Carpeneti said the project now has an estimated cost of $31 million, which is about $5 million more than its original plans. Groundbreaking, Carpeneti said, is expected sometime in 2019 and construction is expected to last two years. Carpeneti said when the project is complete, it will be a standout feature in Juneau.

“We think the New JACC will be the heart of the capital city in the 21st century,” Carpeneti said. “We think the time for it is now.”

The committee unanimously approved to direct staff to have an ordinance drafted for the bond ordinance. Also, committee member Loren Jones proposed that an ordinance be drafted to have a 2 percent increase in the city’s hotel bed tax from 5 to 7 percent. It was also unanimously approved.

The Finance Committee also received information Wednesday on what the plan for the new day-to-day management of Centennial between the CBJ and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. With the agreement, the CBJ retains responsibility for building, major repairs and most preventative maintenance. The JAHC will be responsible for minor repairs, booking and running events and will submit an operational plan, a facility maintenance plan, an operating budget, and, in conjunction with Travel Juneau, a marketing plan on an annual basis.

The agreement is for five years and can be renewed in five-year increments. Either party can terminate the agreement with a six-month notice unless there is a cause and then CBJ can terminate immediately. A mutual agreement may also terminate the agreement on another time frame.

Eagle Rock gives city update on Second Street/North Franklin Street

Scott Shapiro, founder and managing director of Eagle Rock Ventures, Inc., presented his update on where the Seattle-based real estate investment and development firm stands on its lease of the Second Street/North Franklin property to the Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Shapiro said that the company has spent more than $86,000 of its own money trying to develop the property. He said the goal is to build a three-story, 60-unit, micro-housing unit. Using local contractors, he said the amount to fund the project would be approximately $10 million.

With that price tag, rent to pay for the building would need to be approximately $1,600. Shapiro said the hope was a $5 million project with rent at a more reasonable amount of $950. With that gap, Shapiro said there are some options in paying the difference. He suggested that the city give the company a reduced property tax.

“What you give up is that you lose property taxes, but you gain housing,” Shapiro said. “All the people living there will be spending money downtown.”

Other options presented involved the city selling the land at a reduced price, receiving a low-income loan from the city or a basic investment by the community.

Committee member Maria Gladziszewski questioned if just one of the presented options could pay for the $5 million difference. Shapiro said that plan was that money would be funded through a combination of the options.

Mayor Ken Koelsch asked if Shapiro considered building property anywhere else, besides the current lot. Shapiro said it was unlikely, with costs, that it could work.

“If it doesn’t work here,” Shapiro said, “it won’t work anywhere in Juneau.”

The Finance Committee agreed to bring back the discussion on which direction the city should proceed on this matter at a future meeting.

Alaskan Brewing Co. may be expanding

The Alaskan Brewing Company is close to expanding near its current location.

The brewery’s attempt to purchase four lots moved one step closer to be finalized during a brief CBJ special Assembly meeting Wednesday. The Assembly unanimously approved an ordinance to move the proposed sale of four city lots located just west of the brewery’s Lemon Creek location to the next regularly scheduled Assembly meeting at 7 p.m. June 25. The city is selling the four lots for a fair sale price of $2.87 million.

This proposed sale comes from the closure of the Lemon Creek recycling facility in February and interest over that last year from Alaskan Brewing Company in purchasing CBJ lots just west of its Shaune Drive location. The four lots proposed in the sale contain the water utility and household hazardous waste facilities. The water utility will move to the old Valley Street maintenance shop and HHW will need to be relocated. The CBJ Committee of the Whole recommended entering a lease agreement with Waste Management to use its Capitol Disposal Landfill at 5600 Tonsgard Court to the Assembly for all-inclusive waste management site during its May 21 meeting.


• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at gphilson@juneauempire.com or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.


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