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Municipality of Anchorage buys Golden Lion Hotel to become treatment center

Golden Lion Hotel
Golden Lion Hotel(KTUU)
Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 7:23 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Best Western Golden Lion Hotel has about a week left before it closes its doors for good.

The Municipality of Anchorage bought the building Tuesday for $9.5 million. It wants to convert the hotel into a substance misuse treatment center that could accommodate up to 100 people at a time.

“The demand for behavioral health treatment services has increased over the last several years here in the municipality,” said Acting Mayor’s Chief of Staff Jason Bockenstedt. “But, the availability of the treatment options, in general, has decreased.”

The money for the purchase came from the $15 million set aside from the sale of Municipal Light and Power. The rest will be used to renovate the hotel.

“We came away saying the building is in very good condition,” Bockenstedt said. “Well-suited for its intended purpose.”

Crews will then evaluate the building for electrical and other issues. The next step is to line up the provider who will offer the services.

The project has drawn its share of controversy. The city originally wanted to use federal money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to purchase the hotel and three other properties earlier this year. That drew protesters before the Anchorage Assembly.

“I think it’s a disaster. It’s the wrong place,” said Jamilia George, one of the protestors at a July 14 Assembly meeting. “We’ll have traffic into the neighborhood, we already have migrant people in the neighborhood, we don’t want them there. They are not safe there.”

All of the work will be done at the same time. The new treatment center is expected to open during the second half of 2021.

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