Forty-eight unit affordable housing development to open in Spenard next summer

Construction sight of the new 48-unit development at the corner of 36th Avenue on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. (Matthew Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

A new affordable housing development is scheduled to open in Anchorage’s Spenard neighborhood next summer, announced the Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

The first phase of Spenard East, a 48-unit development at the corner of 36th Avenue and Spenard Road, will include three buildings arranged around a small park, with a mix of senior and family housing. 

At a recent event at the construction site, Cook Inlet Housing Authority CEO Carol Gore said the development is meant to house people across income levels, at all stages of life.

“This will be open for everyone,” she said. “Some people think affordability is not really for them. We think of affordability as mattering to everyone, no matter what your income level.”

Gabriel Layman, president of Cook Inlet Lending Center, one of the development’s investors, said affordable housing is critical to the health and well-being of Spenard and its residents. 

“Too often, families in our communities today are struggling to afford the rents they’re required to pay. And that puts them in the unenviable position of having to decide whether they’re going to stay current with their rent, whether they are going to pay for groceries or whether they’re going to seek health care when their family needs it,” he said. “That’s a decision that no elder should ever have to make.”

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The $15 million development is funded by several private lenders, along with state and federal funds and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. 

The 675-square-foot, one-bedroom units will rent for around $900 a month and 892-square-foot, two-bedrooms will go for about $1,000. All units will come with a dishwasher and in-unit washer-dryer. The senior buildings will have accessibility features.

Gore said she grew up in Spenard and remembers climbing the fence at the back of her trailer park to go to Woodland Park Elementary. She said the neighborhood was “thriving” when she was a kid, but has lacked investment in recent decades. 

“So you have a little bit of a different way to reimagine what Spenard could be while at the same time, not taking away what it’s been, bringing that historical character together with where we are today,” she said.

All three buildings in phase one of the development are expected to be complete by July 2022. 

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