Op-Ed Details Sordid Anchorage Development Deal

Local officials accused of being "gullible" as they mull a proposed development deal that would redevelop an iconic downtown theater and knock down a derelict hotel in Midtown Anchorage, Alaska.
January 29, 2016, 2pm PST | urbanguy
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Anchorage Dispatch News Columnist Charles Wohlforth writes in an op-ed piece:

Anchorage’s worst eyesore, the derelict Northern Lights Hotel in Midtown, should have been gone last summer, according to what developer Joe Fang told the Anchorage Assembly in May, when he was asking for rich tax incentives for another project. The Assembly agreed, but the hotel is still there.

At Fang's request, the Assembly declared a chunk of his downtown property deteriorated, making it potentially eligible for a decade of tax exemptions that would be approved at a later date. Among the 'deteriorated' properties are the historic 4th Avenue Theatre and the nine-story Key Bank Building at Fifth Avenue and F Street, which is full of upscale lawyers’ offices and other professional tenants.

What all this points to is that development incentives need to, according to the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), reduce business cost, influence business decisions, advance social and environmental welfare, and connect with well-established best practices in economic development. It remains to be seen whether or not the deal under contemplation by Anchorage officials meets this economic development incentive litmus test. 

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Published on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 in Anchorage Dispatch News
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