State-Owned Atwood Building Can House Anchorage and Visiting Lawmakers with Significant Budget Savings
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2015
ANCHORAGE – On Saturday, the members of the Alaska Legislative Council are scheduled to discuss the available options to save money on office space for lawmakers and staff in Anchorage. The current Anchorage Legislative Information Office (LIO) building on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage has been criticized as too expensive, and many lawmakers including Rep. Sam Kito (D-Juneau), believe it’s time to embrace budget savings and end the lease on the current building. Rep. Kito is the only member of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) on the Legislative Council. He notes that available space in the state-owned Atwood Building in Anchorage is the most viable option under consideration as an alternative to the continued leasing or purchase of the 4th Avenue building.
The deal with a local developer to renovate the glass-encased Anchorage LIO has come under scrutiny due to the high cost, the appearance of impropriety due to inappropriate email communications between the developer and the former chair of the Legislative Council, and campaign contributions to lawmakers who supported the deal.
Late last month, the current Chair of the Alaska Legislative Council released a memorandum analyzing five options for the Anchorage LIO, including continuation of the current lease for the building on 4th Avenue, three different purchase options for the 4th Avenue building, and moving to state-owned space at the Atwood Building. Moving the Anchorage LIO to the Atwood building is by far the least expensive of the options, saving the state well over $30 million over the next 10 years.
“We have dealt with this issue long enough. It’s time to take the state up on its offer of lease space at the Atwood Building, and save Alaska millions of dollars,” said Rep. Kito. “I am comfortable that the contract language in the lease provides the ability for the legislature to exit the lease without penalty, and in the event that the developer of the 4th Avenue building chooses to sue the Legislature, I am confident the state would win such a lawsuit. Exiting the lease, and moving the LIO to the Atwood Building will save the state tens of millions of dollars over the next ten years.”
Rep. Kito contends that the members of the Alaska Legislative Council have more than adequate information available to make an informed decision at their next meeting on December 19, 2015.
For more information contact Rep. Kito’s office at (907) 465-4766.