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Retail, business developments break ground across Anchorage

By Kirsten Swann 12:02 AM October 10, 2013

South Anchorage to see new outlet stores, commercial construction

ANCHORAGE – A series of new retail developments and office buildings are changing Anchorage’s commercial landscape.

In South Anchorage, developers are looking to transform a vacant tract into “The Outlets of Alaska,” a major outlet store center at the corner of C Street and 100th Avenue. The center is scheduled to open in 2015, just across the street from national retailer Target and Cabela’s.

“It’s been kind of raveling together for the last couple of years,” said Brandon Spoerhase, a real estate broker with Jack White Commercial in Anchorage. “I think the reason it finally came together is they were able to make a price. It’s got significant wetland challenges out here, so we had to get the price per foot down to something that was economical.”

The land for the outlet center abuts another large tract of commercial real estate owned by CIRI, whose land development company (CLDC) has made big changes to the Anchorage landscape over recent years. Construction still continues at Tikahtnu Commons, the East Anchorage shopping and entertainment center CIRI began building in 2007 with California-based Browman Development Co.

“That project is actually running ahead of schedule, which is remarkable considering the downturn we saw in the national economy in 2008,” said Sophie Minich, CIRI’s president and CEO.

This week, she said her corporation is preparing to break ground at another major development project. Located on the empty midtown lot where the iconic Fireweed Theater once stood, Minich said the 110,000-square-foot Fireweed Business Center would fill a growing demand for A1 office space in Anchorage. Construction is scheduled for completion in late 2014, and Minich said the complex will house CIRI’s headquarters as well as other local businesses.

“It is envisioned that that won’t be the only building on the site, that someday we’d have some smaller office buildings on it,” she said. “We’d just turn it in to, really, like a business center.”

Minich said the corporation doesn’t plan to embark on any more Tikahtnu-sized retail projects anytime soon, but CLDC continues to develop a 22 acre office and retail space at a South Anchorage site dubbed 11000 C Street. Some of the first construction at that site became the new headquarters of Doyon Ltd. in 2011, and final plans call for five buildings and 144,000 square feet of office and retail space.

It’s part of continued commercial growth along a corridor that remained virtually undeveloped ten years ago.

Today, Spoerhase said large, undeveloped tracks of commercial real estate like those found along the C Street corridor are becoming a rare commodity. He said it could point to a new trend in Anchorage commercial development.

“I think what you’re really going to see is along major arterials, some of the older buildings won’t be able to support the property taxes,” Spoerhase said.

It could mean redevelopment of existing commercial properties along major roadways, like the Mall at Sears or the Northway Mall.

Whether it’s office buildings, shopping centers or new businesses in old buildings, he said Anchorage continues to break ground.

(Editor’s note: This story initially incorrectly reported CIRI sold the land to the developer of the outlet mall.)

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