Eklutna Inc. plans new business development near Fred Meyer

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 20:00
Native corporation could use location for new offices

Eklutna, Inc. may soon have some new digs.

Anchorage’s largest private landowner unveiled its plans for a new commercial development in Eagle River that could eventually be home to the Native corporation’s new headquarters.

“We’d like to put our corporate office building there,” Eklutna land development manager Jim Arnesen told the Eagle River Community Council at the council’s monthly meeting Sept. 7.

DOWL engineering’s Tim Potter and Michelle Ritter unveiled Eklutna’s plans for the new “Eklutna Plaza” development, which the company wants to develop on 10 acres of land it owns across the Old Glenn Highway from Fred Meyer.

A mock-up of the property showed room for three commercial buildings with a two-tiered parking lot. Ritter told the council that Eklutna would likely look for commercial office tenants or possibly specialty retail shops.

“You’re not going to see a Wal-Mart going in here,” said Ritter, who noted that the property’s maximum capacity will be about 90,000 square feet.

Eklutna came before the council because the company was seeking support for a proposed rezone on its property. Without the rezone, the company can’t move forward with development plans for the property — which is currently exempt from municipal property taxes.

“Once it’s developed, it will be taxed like anything else,” Arnesen told the council.

Eklutna plans to go before the Anchorage Planning and Zoning commission on Oct. 10.

Council president Michael Foster wondered if the new development would add to traffic hazards on the north end of Eagle River.

“That part of Eagle River has had a lot of traffic issues,” Foster said.

Ritter said Eklutna’s traffic studies showed the development would generate roughly 155 trips per hour at peak traffic volumes, and that access routes had been designed to mitigate traffic issues coming in and out of the development.

Following the presentation, the community council voted unanimously to support Eklutna’s rezone application.

Currently there are no specific plans to build on the site. If the company gets planning and zoning approval, Arnesen said some clearing may occur before winter, but that’s about it.

In other action, the council:

Voted to submit a letter of support for another Eklutna project, Powder Ridge subdivision phase 4B and 7, which will complete the residential development by adding approximately 55 new lots to the neighborhood.

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or [email protected]

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