New land is in the hands of the sovereign tribe in Juneau after a recent purchase of a nearly 60-year-old downtown hotel.
On Saturday, the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced its recent purchase the Driftwood Lodge, a three-story and 62-unit hotel located downtown near Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall and Foodland IGA.
According to Tlingit and Haida President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson, the purchase will aid Tlingit and Haida in its pursuit of economic sovereignty and returning land back to Alaska Native hands.
“It really just checks all the boxes that fit our needs right now,” he told the Empire. “It’s an employment opportunity, it’s an economic opportunity, and it’s in close proximity to the old Indian village and to other venues.”
The purchase of the approximately one-acre property also included the acquisition of an adjacent building currently occupied by the Sandpiper Café and the parking lot area. According to the city assessor’s office, the total assessed value of the site is about $3.7 million.
Peterson said Tlingit and Haida will not be disclosing the purchase price of the site.
He said the short-term plan for the hotel is to assess the building and tackle “low-hanging fruit” like furniture updates and installing an elevator. Long term, he said Tlingit and Haida is interested in possibly renovating the building, but noted it is planned to remain a hotel.
Peterson said its proximity to Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall and the site of the Juneau Indian Village was what initially drew Tlingit and Haida to pursue the purchase.
Peter Boliver, general manager and co-owner of Sandpiper Café, said the building purchase does not change any cafe operations. He said the business’s current lease extends for multiple years and the cafe intends to continue its stay at the location beyond that as well.
“We’re not changing anything,” he said. “We’re well established here, they just purchased our lease and our operations are normal — we just got new landlords.”
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.