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Alaska Glacier Seafoods buys old Ford property for logistics center

Posted: March 30, 2011 - 8:47pm  |  Updated: March 31, 2011 - 5:27am
Alaska Glacier Seafoods Vice President Jim Erickson, right, and his father, Chief Executive Officer Mike Erickson, close the deal with Carlton Smith of The Carlton Smith Company on a logistics center for the company.   Provided by Peter Metcalfe
Provided by Peter Metcalfe
Alaska Glacier Seafoods Vice President Jim Erickson, right, and his father, Chief Executive Officer Mike Erickson, close the deal with Carlton Smith of The Carlton Smith Company on a logistics center for the company.

Alaska Glacier Seafoods has just become part of a large and rather unique land transaction. In doing so, it’s also moved Juneau closer to becoming a key logistics center for Southeast Alaska fisheries.

Glacier Holdings LLC has just acquired a 3-acre site near the airport that was previously occupied by a Ford auto dealership. Alaska Glacier Seafoods Vice President Jim Erickson said he and his father, Chief Executive Officer Mike Erickson, bought this to expand the Auke Bay facility. The new site will be used primarily as a logistical support center plus general equipment storage.

Erickson said the logistics center will be used as a staging area for fresh shipments going out by air, which made the proximity to the airport an important selling point. He said the company currently ships out to at least 10 countries worldwide.

“We ship a lot of air freight and simply don’t have the space to use the Auke Bay facility,” he said.

Erickson said the company has been expanding steadily over the years and has been looking for more space of this nature for the last few years. “We needed to have the right size storage building, and when this Ford property came available, it pretty much fit the bill for raw land and building space,” he said.

He said the need for such additional space comes from the increased marketplace demand that’s led the seafood company’s growth, adding that support from local fishermen from Juneau, Haines and all of Southeast Alaska has been a driving factor in this expansion. He credits the relationship with local fishermen and the product quality in this as well.

“Basically, it’s made our products in demand on a global basis.”

“We really want to develop Juneau into a center for fisheries in Southeast Alaska,” he said.

The Ericksons hope to have the facility up and running enough to use in a limited sense for this coming salmon season. The vice president said they’re certainly trying to do so by June or July.

The Carlton Smith Company represented the seller for the transaction, and Smith said this transaction was indeed a significant one for the region because of the unusual size of and zoning classification.

He said the sale involves more than 134,000 square feet and represents the transfer of one of the largest parcels that’s zoned for the highest classification of flexibility in commercial property by the City and Borough of Juneau.

“Airport properties across the United States that are in close proximity to international airports have consistently seen appreciation over the last 20 years and Juneau properties next to the airport are no exception to this,” he said, noting that the area is a good match for the logistics center because area properties are primarily driven by services connected to the airport. Other business examples he cited are hotel and restaurant expansions. However, rental car expansions here have been slower.

Smith said the time it took from the auto dealership’s bankruptcy until the completed closing with a new user took around two years.

He added the Carlton Smith Company is the only firm in Southeast Alaska devoted exclusively to commercial properties.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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