Acting Anchorage Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson has announced that the city was no longer planning to purchase the former Alaska Club building to become a new homeless shelter for those displaced because of the pandemic.
Quinn-Davidson said in a statement Wednesday that the city discovered additional costs for roof replacement, plumbing repairs and foundation damages to the permanently closed gym that would significantly raise the price of purchasing the building.
“The administration promised to the Assembly and the public to conduct a thorough due diligence process, and only move forward if the deal penciled out for Anchorage taxpayers,” Quinn-Davidson said.
He said the city will continue to look for other properties to build the additional shelter outside of downtown Anchorage.
The property was part of a plan launched earlier this year by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to buy four buildings for homeless and treatment services, in part using federal coronavirus relief funding.
The original plan included buying the former Alaska Club, the Best Western Golden Lion Inn, Bean’s Cafe and Americas Best Value Inn & Suites. Some residents opposed the plan, arguing it would increase crime and lower property values in the area.
Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.