Oct. 24, 2012
To the editor:
I urge the city council to have confidence in Marc Marlow and his renovation efforts to create 117 renovated apartments in the historic downtown Polaris Hotel building. Mr. Marlow has a historical perspective and understands the renovation will happen with a combination of investor and federal Housing and Urban Development money. He is actively working toward obtaining funding to begin renovation.
The city can do more. For starters, it can postpone the current condemnation of the Polaris. Second, it can pass a resolution expressing confidence and support for the renovation. Third, it can develop an ordinance to waive renovator building fees for all renovators, including Marc Marlow.*To the city’s credit, it has a strong savings account called a fund balance. By ordinance, the fund balance must maintain 20 percent of the annual operating budget as a savings account. Currently, the city has much more than 20 percent saved.
Waiving renovator building fees will give investors extra confidence in all renovation projects. It is a small price to pay to help spark the renovation of an historic downtown building.
The city can do its part to help renovate all deteriorated buildings. I also recommend a renovation task force, inviting developers and concerned citizens to review the definition of a deteriorated building. By hosting this task force, citizens will be paying attention to the problem of deteriorated properties.
This is the first step: pay attention. Then the city can realize the renaissance which is close to happening. I have personal experience living in a deteriorated property before and after a renovation. Renovation eliminates crime and nuisance calls, taking pressure off the police department. The developer of Smith Apartments, now renamed Aurora Properties, has created a first-class, a world-class apartment complex in downtown Fairbanks. The Polaris will be next.
Have confidence Fairbanks. This can happen.