Anchorage retracts plan to buy hotel for homeless shelter

America's Best Value Inn and Suites
America’s Best Value Inn and Suites on on July 15, 2020. The city recently withdrew its plan to use the hotel as a transitional living center. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage will not purchase a Midtown hotel property to convert it into a homeless shelter and resource center as previously planned.

The city announced the change of direction last week involving its plan to purchase the Americas Best Value Inn & Suites property because of the “costly repairs and mandatory upgrades” the refurbishment would entail.

Anchorage officials said that during the due diligence process, the city found the building would need extensive upgrades to its elevators, stairwells, plumbing and electrical systems. City officials also said repairs to its exterior and roof were needed.

“The municipality remains committed to our promise to Anchorage residents to conduct a thorough due diligence process, and only proceed with acquisitions that make sense,” Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson said. “The need for additional shelter and housing infrastructure is inescapable, and we will address that need with prudence.”

The city had planned to purchase the inn and three other properties to combat homelessness.

Anchorage finalized the purchase of the Best Western Golden Lion Hotel earlier this month, saying it would be converted into a drug and alcohol treatment center. The municipality said it used $15 million from selling its electric utility to make the purchase, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The city Assembly also allocated $12.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to purchase the Americas Best Value Inn & Suites, Bean’s Cafe soup kitchen and another pending location.

Some residents and lawmakers criticized the city’s plans to combat homelessness and drug addiction by using federal coronavirus relief money. Some of those critics also said converting the facilities would increase crime and lower property values.