Anchorage Assembly approves proposed sale of downtown LIO building to ACDA

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Anchorage (KTUU) — The former Alaska Legislative Information Office will soon be owned by the Anchorage Community Development Authority after an 8-2 vote by the Anchorage Assembly approving the sale Tuesday night.

Assembly members Amy Demooski and Fred Dyson voted against the purchase. But at $14 million, the majority of the assembly seemed to think it was too good of a deal to pass up. Not only will the building be purchased for much less than it had previously been valued, but it will potentially serve as an even more cost effective new home for the Anchorage Police Department.

In recent years, APD has outgrown its headquarters — a building on Elmore Road designed to house 300 people — with its staff numbers nearly double that. While Demboski and Dyson both agree that APD is in need of a new home, they questioned why the city is allowing ACDA to purchase the building and lease it, rather than buying it outright.

"I absolutely believe that the APD needs a new facility. But we should buy it outright because, at the end of the day, it would be far cheaper if the muni owned it, and not the ACDA," Amy Demboski argued. "Mr. Halcrow is right; this is a smoking deal for the ACDA, but at what cost? $1.3 million a year out of APD's operating budget is too much for me."

Assemblyman Pete Petersen pushed back on Demboski's argument, saying the cost of building and bonding a new headquarters for APD would be far greater than $1.3 million a year.

"If the police department had to build a new police facility at say $50 million dollars, and we bonded and had to pay a percent on that, it would cost the muni or the tax payers $2 million a year. So paying $1.3 right now is a good deal," Petersen said.

The actual lease agreement between ACDA and APD has yet to be drafted or approved by the Anchorage Assembly, pending the completion of the sale. Last week, Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said that if approved, a lease agreement wouldn't be finalized until sometime in late June or even as late as July, with the hope of beginning to move the department into its new headquarters sometime in August.

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