Home Depot on track for January '07 completion

Assembly's public hearing on land sale scheduled for Feb. 13

Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2006

Home Depot could open early next year, with a store typical of any that people might find in big cities, according to plans shared with city planners Wednesday.

The Georgia-based, home-improvement retail chain still doesn't own the planned site, north of Costco at the end of Commercial Boulevard in the Lemon Creek area. After receiving the Juneau Planning Commission's blessing late Tuesday night, everything else could soon fall into place, a city official said.

"We're selling it for market value," said Steve Gilbertson, the city's lands and resource manager.

Gilbertson couldn't discuss the final price because it hasn't been agreed upon. The cost will be adjusted so that the store will help pay for city improvements away from the property - as far away as Glacier Highway and Anka Street. A new right-turn lane is planned for Glacier Highway at Anka, and Anka would be widened.

The land sale is scheduled to come up at a Juneau Assembly public hearing Feb. 13, Gilbertson said.

City planner Nathan Bishop said he saw tentative plans for the store Wednesday, after Home Depot gained approval to build a retail store in an area zoned for industrial use. Commissioners also approved improvements to streets and other amenities around the store and granted a variance to require less parking than the city would require for a store with more than 125,886 square feet of floor space.

"We expect the plans to be submitted after the land sale takes place in February," Bishop said. The tentative plans were for the prototype Home Depot - "not scaled back," he added.

Home Depot media relations employees reached in California Wednesday said they were not prepared to comment.

Bishop said the company is on schedule to submit the construction plans in early March, begin construction in early May and complete construction in January 2007.

The Assembly voted to enter into negotiations with Home Depot about a year ago on the sale of the city-owned site of a former gravel pit. Gilbertson said the Planning Commission decisions were most important to the negotiations because the company now knows it has approval to use the plan for the store.

Plans call for Home Depot to front Costco along Commercial Boulevard to the north, Gilbertson said. The city will extend Commercial Boulevard to the property, and the new store will pay for further extension, he said.

Home Depot's land purchase in the area also includes 12 acres of private property, Gilbertson said. Of that, the company plans to donate 7 acres of wetlands at the headlands of Vanderbilt Creek.

He said that wasn't a sale condition imposed by the city.

"This is just a contribution to the community," he said.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.

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