Civic buildings and services need to be located in the downtown, as evidenced by research and examples from other cities that demonstrate time and time again that the benefits are substantial. Here are some of the reasons why:
Governments establish and administer public policy – Policy should encourage and stimulate downtown development. To reflect this role, city hall should be located downtown, in the heart of the community.
Governments need to lead by example – Why would developers invest in the downtown when government is moving to the edge of town?
Downtown locations reduce auto travel – Downtown locations are well connected to transit. Government workers and the public have more options than auto travel. When government services are located in a central location, shopping and work trips can be combined with trips to government offices, reducing the length and number of auto trips.
Government workers support the downtown economy – Workers use downtown retail, restaurants and businesses on a daily basis. Their patronage is an important part of the downtown business economy.
Customers of government services support the downtown economy – Citizens visiting government offices will often use other downtown services. If government services move out of the downtown, businesses feel the impact.
Downtown Comprehensive Plan recommendations:
- Strengthen the hub of civic facilities, offices and employment Downtown.
- Make Downtown a priority location for federal, state and local government administrative employment and services.
- Concentrate on attracting and retaining Municipality of Anchorage offices and services, specifically.
- Develop a targeted office recruitment program aimed at identifying and attracting corporate employers, such as native corporations.
- Leverage public and private partnerships with assistance from the Anchorage Community Development Authority.
- Seek to reduce development costs (e.g. for structured parking) through tax incentives or other means to enhance office feasibility.
- Encourage office developers to utilize the Downtown parking exemption to enhance the feasibility of development, and ensure that other public parking (publicly or privately owned) is adequate to serve a growing employment base.
- Co-locate office development with new parking garage development.
- Consider parking provisions that offer parking providers with incentives to share parking resources.
- Support a new Downtown location for the transit center.
- Provide capital improvements to the surrounding streetscape environment along with marketing Downtown amenities to employers.
- Establish incentives to make rehabilitation and/or redevelopment of older properties, underused parcels and surface parking lots cost-effective.