Subport planners seek public input

Some changes made in plan for downtown marina and plazas

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Juneau residents will get another chance to look over plans to redesign the subport area downtown at a meeting Thursday.

The city, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office, the state and other area landholders are developing plans to add a marina, housing, retail and commercial space, parks, plazas, a seawalk, parking and other buildings to the subport area downtown. The project covers an area from Gold Creek to the Goldbelt Hotel.

Some components of the plan have changed since a meeting in February and consultant Barbara Sheinberg said planners want to hear from the public again.

"Probably one of the biggest new things is the marina is twice as big as last time," she said.

The marina would now have 70 slips for boats between 40 and 70 feet, Sheinberg said.

In another change, two housing units have been replaced with buildings that have housing, commercial and retail space, she said.

"There's no standalone housing. All four buildings are mixed use," she said.

More specifically, Sheinberg said planners are interested in hearing from people about parking and the height of buildings. Incorporating parking on the water side of the development has been difficult and it might be easier if buildings were taller, she said.

"We're struggling with how to meet the parking (requirements). We can almost do that, but there are some public policy calls," she said. "If a building is a story higher, it gives space for parking. What's the difference between a five-story and a four-story building? How does it look? How does it affect the urban feel of the community?"

The subport plan will be submitted to the city's Community Development Department as an amendment to the comprehensive plan in late October, Sheinberg said.

One part of the subport plan is to look for financing, according to Alison Smith, a senior resource manager with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office. The land trust could fund development in the area if the return was equal to or greater than current investments, she said.

"We also have the possibility to partner with a private developer, the city or other state agency to share the costs of a facility. We have a lot of flexibility in the kinds of facilities we can enter into," she said.

The meeting about the subport project is from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Centennial Hall.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.



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