Alaska state lawmakers look for new office space

The Anchorage Daily NewsApril 13, 2011 

JUNEAU — Alaska legislators are pursuing a plan for constructing a new office building in downtown Anchorage for themselves and their staffers. It's at a site next to City Hall that's used for parking as well as Dark Horse Coffee and Alaska's Gourmet Subs.

Legislators have been trying for years to get new offices in Anchorage and move out of the space they lease on West Fourth Avenue. The latest proposal comes from the Anchorage Community Development Authority, which would own the new building and lease it to the Legislature.

The Legislative Council this week approved moving forward the concept of building the offices at Seventh Avenue and F Street. Legislative staffers will now work with the development authority to figure out the size of the building and how much it would cost.

Final approval of the project won't come before numbers are in. But lawmakers like what they've heard.

"Of all the locations we've thrown around over the years, this does seem like a pretty ideal one," said Anchorage Democratic Rep. Lindsey Holmes, who is a member of the Legislative Council. "It's right next to the state office building, it's right next to the municipality, it's right next to the Performing Arts Center. It's right next to the Dena'ina Center. There's lots of state parking."

Legislators have long complained about the West Fourth Avenue space they lease in Anchorage, saying it's too small and lacks adequate parking. But the idea of a new building has also raised controversy. Anchorage Republican Rep. Mike Hawker complained at one point it would be a "monument to legislative vanity."

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