Carol Creek high density housing plan dead in the water

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 14:00
  • The Carol Creek parcel of land is located roughly between Fred Meyer (lower left) and the Harry McDonald Center (lower right) in Eagle River. (Star file photo/Matt Tunseth)

Municipal land managers are slamming the brakes on plans for a future high-density housing development in the heart of Eagle River.

The Carol Creek project, centered around a 92-acre parcel between Fred Meyer and the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center, would have opened the door to hundreds of new housing units. But Robin Ward, real estate director for the Municipality of Anchorage, said the plan recently hit a roadblock.

After calculating projected financial returns with a pro forma analysis, Ward said, Carol Creek development is off the table.

“The development is not going to happen,” she said Friday. “We did a pro forma to gauge the cost of the infrastructure – the road, mostly – and we can’t make it pencil.”

The wooded, sloping property is owned by the Heritage Land Bank, a division of the municipal Real Estate Department. The land bank manages more than 7,000 acres of municipal property “in a manner designed to benefit the present and future citizens of Anchorage, promote orderly development, and achieve the goals of the Comprehensive Plan,” according to HLB policy.

In December 2016, the Heritage Land Bank Advisory Board approved an updated land use plan placing up to 359 future housing units on the Carol Creek lot.

The plan drew strident opposition from Chugiak-Eagle River residents, who turned out in crowds for meetings on the topic. Local community councils and the Chugiak-Eagle River Advisory Board passed resolutions of opposition. While community members expressed support for a proposed new Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility reservoir on the property, the high-density housing development attracted vehement resistance.

After reviewing the results of the recent pro forma, though, the land bank realized it was “millions” of dollars away from being able to develop the Eagle River property, Ward said. She said the land bank will continue moving forward with plans to plat out a parcel for the AWWU reservoir, but housing development at Carol Creek is indefinitely on hold. For now, the wooded lot between Fred Meyer and the Mac Center will remain a wooded lot, Ward said.

“It’s going to sit until it pencils,” she said. “There’s no reason for us to develop it and lose money.”

Contact reporter Kirsten Swann at [email protected]

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