Developer invests in prime Wasilla location
Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014 12:00 am
Article and photo courtesy of Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman.
WASILLA — Now a small collection of retail shops and office space, City Center Wasilla has big plans for expansion, thanks in part to a more than $1.1 million loan channeled through the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.
The loan will finance a 10,368-squre-foot addition to the center’s exiting complex of six buildings on the east side of Knik-Goose Bay Road just south of the Palmer-Wasilla Highway interchange.
“This is just a stone’s throw from the Parks Highway and in a prime location,” said Andy Faiks, part owner of Western Enterprises, which is developing the land. Faiks also manages Western’s Valley operation, which is based out of City Center Wasilla.
City Center already has six buildings comprising more than 60,000 square feet of space that housers more than 30 tenants, Faiks said. Those include Batteries Plus and longtime local retailer All-I-Saw Cookware, which recently relocated from the Meta Rose Square building to City Center.
As the city and state move forward on the Wasilla Couplet project, City Center is in a prime location to grow with the area, Faiks said. The project will create a one-way couplet to move traffic through downtown Wasilla, with Main Street being one-way south and Yenlo Street one-way north. The couplet’s southern terminus will be just north of City Center.
“With the Wasilla Couplet that’s in the design phase right now, that’s going to create a stoplight right here,” Faiks said. “Our driveway will actually be a through street for the couplet, and it’s going to be great for us.”
The loan to add another building to the site — an expansion Faiks said will actually include two new buildings — was brought to AIDEA by First National Bank Alaska. AIDEA provides funding “to promote, develop and advance the general prosperity and economic welfare of the people of Alaska,” the organization says in a statement announcing the loan.
For Western Enterprises and the Valley that means continued expansion in creating retail and other multi-purpose business spaces, Faiks said. In addition to the six buildings at the City Center site, Western also has six other buildings in the Valley, including a pair of buildings across from Wal-Mart and three at the West Side Center in Wasilla. Overall, Western owns about $21 million worth of property in the Mat-Su.
Construction at the Knik-Goose Bay Road property began in 2006 with two buildings, Faiks said. Two more followed in 2008, and another two each in 2012 and 2013. At build-out, City Center is expected to be home to 10 buildings providing about 100,000 square feet of space.
“We’ve been kind of averaging a building a year,” he said. “We don’t want to over-build ourselves, and we want to stay consistent with the market and the demand.”
Along with the couplet and growth, other projects like the Knik-Goose Bay Road expansion, Point MacKenzie rail extension and potential for a Knik Arm bridge, the business climate for areas south of Wasilla is looking good for the future, Faiks said.
“We feel it’s pretty strong. It’s something we’re pretty confident in with the way things are trending out here in Wasilla, especially down Knik-Goose Bay Road. … I think Mayor (Verne) Rupright called this area the ‘Golden Triangle.’ I really see this area as exploding.”
Although the colloquial term for the types of buildings at City Center is strip mall, Faiks said his company goes to great lengths not to make their developments look like the stereotypical strip mall.
“With our concept here, we wanted to make the buildings look attractive and modern,” he said. “Each building has a little different look to break up that cookie-cutter mentality.”
Contact Greg Johnson at 352-2269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.