New Development Not Slowing in Anchorage
The perception that Alaska slows down during the fall and winter months couldn't be further from the truth, at least in the business community. A building boom is heating up, from Mountain View to Midtown.
"What you're seeing going here now is preparation for a 110,000 square foot office tower, and eventually down the road we envision this being an upscale business park, " said Sophie Minich, CEO of the Cook Inlet Region Incorporated.
The building at the site of the old Fireweed Theatre will be completed in late 2014 or early 2015. It will be 20,000 square feet larger than CIRI's current headquarters, and fulfill a demand for increased office space in the area.
"I think you're seeing a lot of it come from some of this renewed energy around production or increased production in activities up on the North Slope," said Minich. "Some of the oil companies now are utilizing space in their buildings."
Another 8 story office building at the corner of International Airport Road and C Street is set to open in 2014. There are also retail projects in the works.
"Continuing the synergy in Anchorage, with Target and Cabelas, there's another local developer looking to develop a couple hundred thousand square feet of retail outlet centers," said Brandon Spoerhase of Jack White Commercial.
It isn't just the commercial office and retail industry that's feeding Alaska's economy.
Tacoma, Washington based "The Rock" is opening its first wood fired pizza and music themed restaurant on the Glenn Highway right across the CIRI-owned Tikatnu Commons.
The eatery opened Monday, creating 75 new jobs.
"Northway Mall (and East Anchorage), from what I hear, is making a comeback; Burlington has moved in there, we do have Bass Pro Shops," said The Rock General Manager Brix Iverson. "We just saw this area coming back to life."
Further down the Glenn Highway, Wasilla-based grocer Three Bears announced plans for a new store off the North Birchwood exit. According to a press release, crews will work through the winter to build the 50,000 square foot store, ahead of a June 2014 opening date.
"Right now, we're on track to do that," said the company's vice-president Steve Mierop.
In addition to groceries, the store will sell sporting goods, hunting and fishing gear. The Chugiak Three Bears will create 70 to 80 new jobs in the community.
(Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV)