Legislature completes purchase of new Anchorage office building; move is set for next month

The Alaska Legislature has officially purchased new Anchorage offices in Spenard and plans to move in next month.

The $11.85 million transaction closed Thursday, according to an aide to state Sen. Gary Stevens, the Kodiak Republican who chairs the Legislative Council, the House-Senate committee charged with handling internal legislative business and budgets.

Lawmakers have to move out of their current offices, on Fourth Avenue downtown, by Oct. 16, so renovations to the new building won't begin until January, when the Legislature begins its annual session in Juneau.

The Spenard building, off Minnesota Drive just south of Benson Boulevard, was owned by Wells Fargo.

Lawmakers decided to move into the new space after Anchorage Superior Court Judge Patrick McKay ruled in March the Legislature's no-bid, 10-year lease for its Fourth Avenue building was illegal and invalid.

The Fourth Avenue building's landlords, Mark Pfeffer and Bob Acree, have filed a $37 million damages claim, with the Legislature's response due next month. The claim could be a precursor to a lawsuit.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Pfeffer and Acree, Amy Slinker, said, "We continue to provide the facility and services that we were contracted to provide and will continue to accommodate the Legislature under those terms until they have clearly abandoned their obligations."

Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage-based independent journalist Nathaniel Herz has been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at natherz.substack.com