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Assembly proposal aims to spur investment in Fairview

Nathaniel Herz

The Anchorage Assembly will begin looking at a plan next week aimed at reviving a commercial corridor that runs through the center of the Fairview neighborhood.

Assemblyman Patrick Flynn, who represents the area, is sponsoring a measure that would allow developers to get property tax exemptions if they invest in local commercial or residential projects.

Representatives of the Fairview Business Association, the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, and other groups have pushed for the proposal, which could help stimulate new construction and redevelopment in an area dotted with vacant lots, shuttered businesses and run-down buildings.

Flynn's proposal declares a 65-city-block stretch of Fairview and East Downtown as a "deteriorated area," which allows city officials to grant tax breaks to developers.

The area is essentially two large rectangles. One consists of property between B Street and Medfra Street, and between East Third Avenue and East Seventh Avenue.

The other runs from East Seventh Avenue to East 16th Avenue, between Fairbanks and Ingra streets.

The exemptions would only be allowed to offset increases in property tax that stem from the completion of a development project, according to Flynn's proposal.

And the exemptions can amount to no more than developers spend on infrastructure improvements, and environmental testing and remediation. Other spending can be applied to an exemption if it's specifically approved by the Assembly.

S.J. Klein, former president of Fairview's community council, said that Flynn's proposal is just one of several measures needed to revive the corridor along Ingra and Gambell streets.

Others include getting clarity from the state Department of Transportation about its plans for major roads in the area, and fighting what Klein describes as Fairview's "chronic inebriate issue."

"The whole corridor really is a failure right now," Klein said, adding that "nobody wants to invest" there.

Flynn's proposal, he said, "is a first step."

Reach Nathaniel Herz at nherz@adn.com or 257-4311.

 


By NATHANIEL HERZ
nherz@adn.com