Anchorage retracts plan to buy hotel for homeless shelter

·2 min read

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Anchorage has backtracked on a proposal to purchase a hotel and convert it into a homeless shelter and resource centre .

The city announced the change on Wednesday involving its plan to purchase the Americas Best Value Inn & Suites property because of the “costly repairs and mandatory upgrades” the refurbishment would entail.

Anchorage officials said that during the due diligence process, the city found the building would need extensive upgrades to its elevators, stairwells, plumbing and electrical systems. City officials also said repairs to its exterior and roof were needed.

“The municipality remains committed to our promise to Anchorage residents to conduct a thorough due diligence process, and only proceed with acquisitions that make sense,” Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson said. “The need for additional shelter and housing infrastructure is inescapable, and we will address that need with prudence.”

The city had planned to purchase the inn and three other properties to combat homelessness.

Anchorage finalized the purchase of the Best Western Golden Lion Hotel earlier this month, saying it would be converted into a drug and alcohol treatment centre . The municipality said it used $15 million from selling its electric utility to make the purchase, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The city Assembly also allocated $12.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to purchase the Americas Best Value Inn & Suites, Bean’s Cafe soup kitchen and another pending location.

Some residents and lawmakers criticized the city's plans to combat homelessness and drug addiction by using federal coronavirus relief money. Some of those critics also said converting the facilities would increase crime and lower property values.

___

This story was first published on Dec. 26, 2020. It was updated on Dec. 28, 2020, to correct that the city of Anchorage, Alaska, didn't promise to buy the building. City officials only promised to conduct a due diligence review.

The Associated Press