188 Northern Lights Blvd. ready for business

-- Photos by Rob Stapleton, Alaska Journal of Commerce<p>
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Construction crews put the final touches on the building at 188 Northern Lights Blvd. The 14-story building is scheduled to be ready for leasing in late March.
-- Photos by Rob Stapleton, Alaska Journal of Commerce

   
Construction has been ongoing for nearly a year now, but the $40 million mixed-use commercial building located at 188 Northern Lights Blvd. in Anchorage is due to be completed March 31.

The 14-story, 285,000-square-foot structure is comprised of ground-floor retail storefronts, 10 stories of Class A office space and three stories of parking. Floor-to-ceiling windows, column-free floor plans and modern finishes set the building apart from other Midtown structures, according to Derrick Chang, representative for the owners, Anchorage-based project developer Ruby Investments Inc.

“The mixed-use premise is very unique,” Chang said. “This project really provides a glimpse of how Anchorage will be developed in the future.”

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-- Photos by Rob Stapleton, Alaska Journal of Commerce

   
t is also the only building in the entire state that will have a covered concourse for vehicles.

Richard Applegate, general foreman for Neeser Construction Inc., said as many as 70 laborers worked on the building at one time. In addition to the general contracting crew, workers from the following companies were on-site at various times throughout the project: Quality Electric, Udelhoven Oilfield System Services Inc., Klebs Mechanical, Alaska Professional Concrete Construction Inc., Alaska Glazing Inc. and Otis Elevator Co.

Chang said the project is on time and on budget, but from a carpenter’s standpoint, it hasn’t been completely smooth sailing.

“Because we used poured-in-place concrete, this was a very complicated job,” Applegate said.

In conventional poured-in-place construction, a crew erects forms of plywood, steel, or aluminum that make a mold in the desired shape for the walls. After placing rebar to reinforce the wall, the crew pours concrete inside the cavity.

Because this particular building has a cement core, three different labor crews - ironworkers, cement masons and carpenters - were all needed during the initial stages of the project. The benefits of poured-in-place construction are joint-free, high-density walls that can withstand greater pressure and resist cracking and bulging.

The size and layout of the lot also presented its fair share of challenges: The structure is built all the way out to the sidewalk on C Street, and Benson and Northern Lights boulevards. Fixed lot lines meant the storage yard was located three blocks away instead of on site.

The logistical challenges “made it feel like we were trying to put our right foot down and lift our left foot up at the same time,” Applegate said. Once the parking garage was completed, most of the tools and building materials were moved on site.

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-- Photos by Rob Stapleton, Alaska Journal of Commerce

   
Currently, 45 laborers are working to finish up the building. The tower crane, which has dominated the Midtown Anchorage skyline for many months, will come down during the first or second week of April.

Chang said all retail and office spaces are available for lease now.

“We are currently in negotiation with prospective tenants,” he said.

Office spaces may also be negotiated as office condos for purchase.

On the Web: www.188NorthernLights.com.

Carly Horton can be reached at [email protected].

Updated: 
03/01/2008 - 8:00pm