Inside Alaska Business
Midtown Mall
Two former Sears properties in Anchorage have a new owner. International real estate firm Time Equities, Inc. (TEI) bought the Midtown Mall and the vacant Sears warehouse at Dowling Road and Old Seward Highway from Seritage Growth Properties for $44 million. The investments are TEI’s first in Alaska, expanding its footprint to thirty-five states. Though many mall slots are without tenants, the 164,664 square feet are 81 percent leased.

Anchorage app developers Zak Erving and Phil Belleau earned the top prize of $10,000 from the UAF Arctic Innovation Competition for their invention, Prismatext. The computer app blends words and phrases from other languages into English texts, allowing readers to acquire vocabulary in context. Prizes for junior innovators went to a rooftop snow removal vacuum and the “Cluck Box,” an improved package for mailing live chicks.

ORPC | Matanuska-Susitna Borough
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is partnering with Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) of Maine to test its RivGen Power System in Knik Arm. ORPC deployed RivGen in the Kvichak River village of Igiugig in 2014; the Cook Inlet project would harness the tidal current of Knik Arm to power the cathodic protection systems that prevent metal structures at Port MacKenzie from corroding. If testing goes well, Port MacKenzie would be the first port in the country to harness tidal energy for local operations. ORPC is also partnering with Homer Electric Association for a tidal power project at East Foreland, offshore from Nikiski. |
Alaska Energy Authority
The largest hydroelectric project in Alaska for thirty years is moving ahead. The Alaska Energy Authority filed a license amendment with federal regulators, the first step in the Dixon Diversion. The project would be located 5 miles southwest of the Bradley Lake dam near Homer, currently the largest hydroelectric power plant in Alaska. Dixon Diversion could power up to 30,000 homes, compared to Bradley Lake’s 54,000. The current price tag is between $400 million and $600 million. Studies and permitting would take about five years, and then five more years of construction.
Addie Camp
The first Tesla Supercharger in Alaska opened in April, offering faster recharge for electric vehicles and expanding the range for drivers to explore the Kenai Peninsula. The station is hosted by Addie Camp at Whistle Hill, just off the Sterling Highway outside of downtown Soldotna. The Supercharger is designed to refill 200 miles of range in fifteen minutes.
Alyeska Resort
A new attraction in Girdwood extends the year-round offerings at Alyeska Resort. A Nordic spa features three warm and hot hydrotherapy pools, three cold pools including cold plunge and waterfall, a Signature sauna, and massage therapy. Two Trees Bistro offers dining focused on local ingredients with a menu curated by Chef Wes Choy. A final phase later this year will add an elevated boardwalk through the Chugach Forest.
Alaska Beacon
The politics and state government beat has a new reporting outlet. The Alaska Beacon launched in May, publishing daily updates on its website by veteran capitol journalists. Editor-in-chief Andrew Kitchenman, formerly of Alaska Public Media and KTOO, says the mission is to “cover stories that are being missed due to the limited number of reporters focused on state government.” The venture is supported by States Newsroom, a donor-funded nonprofit.
Small Business Administration
With the launch of a Women’s Business Center in Anchorage, the nationwide network operated by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) now has locations in all fifty states and Puerto Rico. Women’s Business Centers (WBC) offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to entrepreneurs. The SBA established the WBC program in 1988. The Anchorage WBC is the 141st in the program and is operated by the Seattle Economic Development Fund.