Inside Alaska Business
Ravn Alaska
The new venture for out-of-state air travel by Ravn Alaska’s sister brand is beginning to take off. Northern Pacific Airways has purchased its first Boeing 757, plus another five in various stages of acquisition, with the goal of connecting Anchorage to the Lower 48 and Asia sometime next year. The new service would include routes to Orlando, Florida, as well as to Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea from the disused North Terminal at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Usibelli Coal Mine
Usibelli Coal Mine fulfilled a forty-year promise to restore an open pit at the Poker Flats area near Healy. According to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), a final inspection this summer determined that reclamation of the 367-acre site was complete. The process involved refilling the original land contour and then waiting ten years for new vegetation to take root. DNR releases the last $411,000 of the $2.5 million bond that Usibelli posted in the ‘80s when it began extracting 25 million tons of coal.
Nuvision Alaska Credit Union broke ground on its first standalone retail store in Wasilla. Located in the Shoppes at Sun Mountain commercial district, uphill from Cottonwood Creek, the branch is scheduled to open in 2022. The branch will house Nuvision’s mortgage department and include a drive-through facility, the first for Nuvision in the Valley.
Corps of Engineers
A Florida-based firm gets to build a mega-project near North Pole. The US Army Corps of Engineers–Alaska District awarded a $36 million contract to Bauer Foundation Corporation. The Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project is no ordinary foundation, though, entailing an eight-mile-long earthen dam with a 6,200 linear feet concrete barrier wall to prevent erosion of the Moose Creek Dam, which regulates the flow of the Chena River through Fairbanks. The estimated $148 million project is scheduled to begin next spring and take two years to complete. The Corps’ Alaska District describes it as its largest civil works project in thirty years.
Astra Space
The Alaska Aerospace Corporation’s first commercial customer is hoping to halve its bad luck, rather than double it, by pairing with a similarly struggling rocket launch rival. California-based Astra Space signed a $30 million deal to build engines for Texas-based Firefly, using Firefly’s proprietary “Reaver” design, according to documents reported by The Verge. In August, Astra Space’s Rocket 3.3 skidded sideways off the pad at Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island and failed to reach orbit. A week later, Firefly’s first orbital test failed shortly after launch from California. |
The virtual world of cryptocurrency is coming to the real world of Alaska supermarkets. Selected Carrs-Safeway stores in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau will host fifteen self-service kiosks that let shoppers purchase bitcoin for cash. The kiosks are like those that sort loose change, but now operator Coinstar is partnering with Coinme, the largest licensed cryptocurrency cash exchange in the United States. Transactions require an account with Coinme using its app, as well as paper money only; the machines do not accept metal coins for that purpose. |
“I want to see an Anchorage with new cranes in the sky,” says the municipality’s new mayor, Dave Bronson. To help realize that vision, Bronson named an Economic Revitalization and Diversification Advisory Committee. Among the dozen members are state Commerce Commissioner Julie Anderson, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport manager Jim Szczesniak, Anchorage Economic Development Corporation president Bill Popp, GCI senior vice president Paul Landes, and Dimond Center owner Hugh Ashlock. The panel’s first report is due in January.