LOCAL LENDERS OBSERVE NATIONWIDE TREND OF CLOSING BRICK AND MORTAR LOCATIONS
Juneau, Alaska is observing the same trend seen in the lower 48: Brick and Mortar locations for bank and credit union branches are closing down to reflect greater emphasis for customers to bank online. Recently two branches closed in Juneau; one in the downtown core; the other on a busy corner in Lemon Creek. One bank officer commented recently “What we’re seeing is a slowdown in actual transactions taking place in brick and mortar branches—people have been trending toward using branches as those locations where only deposits are made with banking transactions falling dramatically.” This has had a larger impact in Juneau where the total number of banking locations is low as compared to larger cities.
LEASE MARKET IS DESCRIBED AS “BALANCED” WHILE CURRENT LEASE TERMS TEND TO FAVOR TENANTS
With the state financial recession widely regarded as over, new office leases in Juneau continue to be executed at a steady rate. In Juneau last month, over 15,000 square feet in new inventory was added, with 7,600 square feet of space leased. It appears that fears of further job loss in southeast Alaska have been largely averted, and lease terms have continued to reflect that stability. The base rates in Juneau that continue to be negotiated are in the range of $2.00 psf to $2.30 psf for gross leases,–including all services except janitorial. However, we are observing a trend that favors tenants in negotiated terms. The length of local leases is trending toward longer terms in the 3 – 5 year range.
LARGE WATERFRONT PARCEL IN JUNEAU ANALYZED BY LOWER 48 REAL ESTATE THINK TANK
The Alaska Mental Health Trust commissioned a study for development options for its waterfront parcel located across from the Prospector Hotel on the Egan Expressway. The group of consultants, which numbered nearly a dozen is expected to be delivered by year end, according to officials at the Trust Land Office, which is run by the Department of Natural Resources. The report, which was completed at no cost to the Trust, except for direct expenses involved in the onsite visit, is expected to recommend either a “hold” or a sale recommendation to the Trust. This is regarded as one of the last large sites for re-development on Juneau’s waterfront.
CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU STUDIES ALTERNATIVES FOR “DOWNTOWN BLUEPRINT”
The CBJ continues to take public comment on options that could create a long-term area plan for Downtown Juneau. Two Public meetings on the concept have been held, and according to Gary Gillette, CBJ staff architect, the interest in “making changes in this area of downtown are high.” The third and final meeting for the “visioning” stage will be held January 24. Several community members are serving on a steering committee that leads this new effort.
STAND-ALONE COMMERCIAL BUILDING INVENTORY IN JUNEAU IS AT AN ALL TIME LOW
Investors seeking to purchase stand-alone commercial buildings are finding it difficult to source new inventory. What Brokers often are required to do is source properties that are not listed presently on the market, says Carlton Smith. “Its an extra step we take for our clients who express specific interest in a particular type of building, Smith says.” It requires literally knocking on doors and asking owners to sign a “single party listing” with their promise to pay a commission to an agent if they find a suitable buyer who will pay a price to them that is acceptable. “This trend is here to stay,“ says Smith