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Developers eye Anchorage site for housing project

Posted: April 15, 2014 - 11:01pm

ANCHORAGE — Developers are planning to build an upscale housing complex in Anchorage at the site of an aging mobile home park.

The group of California developers is seeking to break ground next summer at the 30-acre Riviera Terrace Mobile Home Park, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The plan calls for four construction phases of row houses and apartments, with a total of 450 housing units at the east Anchorage location.

Cameron Johnson, one of the developers, said his group passed on as many as 40 other properties before purchasing Riviera Terrace two months ago. The property was appraised at $3.8 million in its most recent assessment by the city.

The developers recognize the heavy demand for housing in Anchorage, said Johnson, who is in Anchorage this week to meet with city officials and Anchorage Assembly members.

“We’re well aware of the housing crisis in the city, which is part of the reason why we’ve been so aggressive in looking for a suitable site,” said Johnson, a Wasilla High School graduate who has worked on projects in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.

Anchorage’s vacancy rate was 3.3 percent in 2013. That is considered below the healthy average.

The developers are pledging almost $1 million for relocation expenses for current residents at the mobile home park, where 170 units out of 190 spaces are occupied, Johnson said. Preliminary rent price projections for the planned development range between $1,400 and $2,000 a month.

The developers plan to submit an application next month to have the property rezoned for the density they are proposing, according to Kristine Bunnell, a senior city planner. The development group also is trying to see if the property can qualify for tax exemption through a local provision that allows a property to be declared deteriorated.

Rumors about a sale of the property have circulated for years, according to Riviera Terrace residents.

Charlie Hoff, 42, is a video store clerk. He said he’s concerned about what would happen if the new property owners forced him to move. His trailer space costs $425 in monthly rent, plus utilities, and about $200 in taxes annually.

“A lot of us can’t really afford more than what we’re paying,” Hoff said. “We didn’t get no PhD — we’re just video clerks and Walmart workers.”

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