KODIAK — Newcomers to Kodiak often struggle with finding short-term housing or places to stay while on vacation or temporary job assignments — Guardian Landing hopes to solve that problem.
Guardian Landing is housed in a 5-bedroom home with a unique setup. The house has rooms to rent, but it’s not quite a bed and breakfast. Residents can rent one bedroom in the home, or multiple bedrooms, either for a few nights or a few months.
The fully furnished house reserves one bedroom for transitioning Coast Guardsmen.
People staying in the bedrooms will have access to shared or private bathrooms, a kitchen, and a recreational room. The house is a pet-free, allergy-free, nonsmoking property.
Tracey Mertens, director of operations at Guardian Landing, said the system is ideal for single or married civilians, business and military professionals, and off-island visitors.
The idea is that people working or visiting have a comfortable place to go home to at the end of the day.
“You come home to a home,” Mertens said. “Here you’re not just getting a bedroom. You’re getting a half-a-million-dollar house to play in.”
Mertens was looking to move away from Florida when she discovered Kodiak on one of the nature channels she watched. She visited Kodiak last August and decided she wanted to make it her permanent home.
“I was ready to escape the Lower 48 chaos,” Mertens said. “My favorite pastime is to go out to Lake Gertrude, sit on the beach and meditate. That’s part of why I came here. You can’t do that in Florida with the Interstate traffic buzzing behind you.”
Mertens did her research before deciding what type of business she wanted to open. She works from home doing international corporate work remotely, and wanted a business that would mesh well with her other position. Mertens learned from the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce that the biggest need in Kodiak was housing, and she decided she wanted to help address it.
“The housing market in Kodiak is great because there’s a shortage,” Mertens said. “If you’re providing something and you’re doing it with the right rates, the right time and the right amenities you can do well.”
Mertens bought the house, which overlooks Mill Bay and Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park, and arrived in Kodiak at the end of January. She said she plans to stay in Kodiak for the long haul.
“I had my test moment, my third or fourth day,” she said. “It was raining and getting dark, and I’d been out for six hours shopping, and the wind was blowing. I had this instantaneous moment on the inside and I thought, nowhere I’d rather be.”
It took Mertens a few weeks to put the finishing touches on the home, but it is now ready and available for residents.
The home has a gourmet kitchen with equipment ranging from juicers to bread makers. The house contains four freezers and two refrigerators, so residents and guests will have plenty of space to store food and fish.
While food isn’t included in the amenities, Mertens does offer a countertop bakery where residents or visitors will be able to enjoy homemade treats on a daily basis as well as coffee or tea in the mornings.
“On any given day there’s something, homemade cherry cake, cookies, fresh baked bread,” she said.
Other amenities include weekly housekeeping and cleaning services, indoor recreation activities like board games, pool, darts and television, and an assortment of fishing gear for renters to borrow during the summer months. Deployment support is also available for Coast Guard members.
Utilities and amenities are factored into the rental prices, Mertens said. All people interested in applying for a long-term lease are required to fill out a full-length application, while people interested in short-term rentals will be able to make a reservation.
Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com