As you drive into Wasilla from Anchorage on the Parks Highway, you’ve likely passed a vacant 32 acres without giving them a second thought.

Credit: Cameron Johnson

But not developer Cameron Johnson. The Wasilla High School graduate now works for AMG & Associates and has been dreaming about that land for years.

It’s the place many people once hoped would be home to a Costco but that never worked out.

Years later, Johnson is now the man behind a new $60 million project called the Shoppes at Sun Mountain.

Construction was approved by the Wasilla Planning Commission earlier this month.

Johnson shared some of the project renderings and says it will be more than your typical strip mall.

Credit: Cameron Johnson

“I would say we are looking at probably two to three restaurants and a mix of small-box and junior-box retail. So, probably about 150,000-square feet of retail and restaurant space, a 25,000-square foot athletic club, and then about 40,000-square feet of professional office,” Johnson said.

The Shoppes at Sun Mountain will also feature 60 senior apartments and somewhere between 20 to 30 townhomes, according to Johnson.

Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle says he supports the project because Wasilla doesn’t have property tax and most of the city's revenue comes from its 3 percent sales tax.

If local businesses make money, he says the city does as well.

“We are trying to be a one-stop shop. I need to fill Wasilla with some form of what you can get in Anchorage so you don’t have to go to Anchorage,” Cottle said.

Cottle also estimates the Shoppes at Sun Mountain could bring around 300 jobs to Wasilla.

Johnson wouldn't name drop any of the potential businesses that may soon call Wasilla home but says negotiations have begun and construction isn't far behind.

“This is going to be the premier shopping destination in the Valley is what we are aiming for,” Johnson said.

The developers are closing on the land next week. Construction will begin right away but won’t be complete for about five or six years, according to Johnson.

He says The Shoppes as Sun Mountain will be built in stages.

Vertical construction is slated to begin in September and crews will build between two and four buildings a year until it’s complete.

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