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State cooperates on land for Juneau parking garage

City Assembly meets in executive session for second time on land negotiations for project

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The state of Alaska is offering to cooperate with the city of Juneau so the city can build a parking project downtown.

In a letter Monday, the state offered a 30-year lease on property it owns at the corner of Egan Drive and Main Street so the city can build a parking garage and transit center.

The state also offered to transfer the land title to Juneau, giving city officials 30 years to get through the land transfer process, which usually takes about two years.

The state further offered an option to extend the lease for another 30 years if the city can't get through the process during the first three decades.

The city is to set the terms of the lease.

The Assembly met in executive session for a second time Monday night to discuss the negotiations. Whether or not they will accept the state's offer was not revealed after the closed meeting.

The state owns the nearly two-acre parcel on Telephone Hill, where the city plans to build its parking project. The property has long been discussed as a site for a new capitol.

The garage is being designed so that a building could be placed on top of it in the future, city designers have said.

The state is interested in clearing up an estimated $6.5 million debt associated with the property that originated in a 1984 cooperative-use agreement between the two government entities. As part of that agreement, Juneau gave the state $2 million to acquire private property in the area through eminent domain.

The agreement said that if the state did not develop the property in 10 years, Juneau could be reimbursed or receive a portion of the land.

The city's initial investment is now worth about $6.5 million.

If the city can finalize negotiations over the land, a next step would be to put out a bid for the rock blasting necessary to prepare the site for development.

The city is preparing the bid, which it would like to put out this month, Director of Engineering Rorie Watt said Monday.

• Contact reporter Kim Marquis at 523-2279 or e-mail kim.marquis@juneauempire.com.



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