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Tue Dec 24, 2013, 09:18 AM

(Anchorage) No-bid deal to expand legislative offices downtown draws criticism


large construction crane has been moved into place for the start of renovations to the Anchorage legislative office building on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage on Friday, December 13, 2013.

No-bid deal to expand legislative offices downtown draws criticism
December 21, 2013

The lawmakers have moved out and giant construction cranes have taken over a stretch of downtown as work begins on an expensive redo of the Anchorage legislative building.

When it's all done, not only will the Legislature's rent for Anchorage balloon fivefold overnight, but on a square-footage basis, the state will pay more than double the going rate for downtown office space, according to a check of leases and space available on Multiple Listing Service.

State Rep. Mike Hawker, the Anchorage Republican who negotiated the 10-year lease extension with developer Mark Pfeffer, maintains the rent for 716 W. Fourth Avenue will be below market value -- a finding he had to make to bypass the usual requirements for competition and justify the no-bid deal.

An appraiser hired by the state to review the deal concluded that legislative offices are too specialized -- like the FBI building or even a prison or medical facility -- to be fairly compared to conventional office space.

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