Juneau’s City Hall Situation Update

The City and Borough of Juneau is in need of alternative office space for its 160+ downtown employees due to deteriorating conditions and expiring leases in its current facilities.  CBJ staff and services are currently spread across four leased and one owned building (City Hall). At least two of the leased spaces will no longer be viable in the near future and the aging City Hall requires over $14M in structural, safety and systems repairs and no longer meets the current or future needs of CBJ.

In October 2023, Juneau voters turned down a bond proposition to fund the construction of a new city hall to consolidate all downtown CBJ employees and services into one building. CBJ is now investigation commercial lease options to respond to the very near-term need to secure office space for its employees due to both expiring leases and safety concerns.

Latest News & Updates

  • Assembly considers responses to office space RFI, directs CBJ staff to evaluate lease options
  • CBJ issues Request for Information regarding available office space in Juneau (Dec 21, 2023)
  • Proposition 1 fails to pass in October 3 Election (Detailed Election Results from Oct 17, 2023)
  • Community members share their support for a new city hall (See “Community Support” tab below) (Sept 14, 2023)
  • CBJ to hosts New City Hall Open House on September 13, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Sept 13, 2023)
  • New! Animated explainer video from local artist & business owner, Pat Race: Watch here.
  • July 10, 2023 – Assembly approves Ordinance 2023-31 authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds of $27,000,000 to finance construction and equipping of a new city hall for the City and Borough, and submitting a proposition to the voters at the October 3, 2023 election. (Meeting Recording and Materials)

Current Status: 

The CBJ Assembly directed staff to explore commercial office space available for lease to accommodate CBJ staff under three proposed scenarios outlined in the Request for Information (RFI).

The Assembly and CBJ staff are currently evaluating the RFI responses. 

2023 New City Hall Bond Proposition

In October 2023 election, the City & Borough of Juneau invited voters to weigh in on a bond proposition to help fund the construction of a new city hall building at 450 Whittier Street. The measure failed to pass with 4263 YES votes and 4896 NO votes. The CBJ thanks all the voters who participated in the election.

Below is a look back at the details of the bond proposition and information shared during the 2023 election.

Community Support for a New City Hall

Members of Juneau’s community share their support for a new city hall and Proposition 1:

“Let’s build that city hall!”

Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson, President, Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida). (Said during his welcome remarks at the 2023 Southeast Conference on September 19, 2023.)

“The location, physical arrangement and scattered offices of the current City Hall are intimidating and burdensome for many to navigate. A new city hall that is ADA accessible, with all city services in one place would make is much easier for all Juneau-ites to participate in their local government.”

– Joan O’Keefe, SAIL, Inc.

“The Juneau Building Trades are in full support of Proposition No. 1 to build and equip a new City Hall for the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska. We believe that the Capital of Alaska deserves a building that represents and serves the residents of Juneau.

This project will be bid as a design build, allowing the City to make modifications with the builder to keep costs on budget. Additionally, owning one building versus renting multiple properties allows the City to see controlled costs in the long term, ultimately saving costs for current and future generations. (Read the Full Letter)

– Brad Austin, Juneau Building Trades President

“Throughout my career, I worked hard to find the most efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars.  Voting no on one won’t bring down costs or improve city services, but voting yes will give us the ability to construct a new, efficient and purpose-built facility that will bring city staff together to better serve Juneau for decades to come.” 

 – Mary Becker, Former Juneau Mayor, Assembly Member, School Board Member and Educator

“Stack up all the cash we’re using to band-aid the old building and rent office space and it quickly becomes more cost-effective to build something new…. something practical, functional and purpose-built for city government, in a single location with all of our core city staff under one roof – that isn’t leaking. It will be our building, something we all own together and can take pride in as a community.” (Watch the short video)

– Pat Race, Juneau filmmaker, illustrator, and small business owner

“My first job out of college was as a city planner for the City of Wilmington, Delaware. The offices of that municipality were spread out over multiple buildings with many of us crammed into offices that were little better than closets.  After a few months we were all moved and consolidated into a new building that housed all of the administrative offices.  In bringing all of us under one roof there was a noticeable improvement in communication, efficiency and morale.  Not to mention increased accessibility by the public.  I can attest from direct, personal experience that a new city hall would be a huge asset for Juneau.”

– John Decherney

“Besides economics and functionality, there is another important reason we will vote yes and it relates to being good stewards of our capital city. We are proud to reside in Alaska’s capital and are grateful to the fine citizens who for many years have served on the Alaska Committee striving to keep it here. The current mish-mash of local government offices does not represent the high standard and image a capital city should depict. We can do better, not only for Juneau’s residents, but for all Alaskans who come here for a myriad of reasons and services. 

We invite you to join us by voting yes to support a new City Hall — one that will be properly sized, energy efficient, and a modest facility designed to best serve its customers, the citizens of Juneau and all of Alaska. We think it’s the responsible thing to do. 

– Paul & Sioux Douglas 

“As a business owner and active member of our community, I look for sound business decisions for Juneau. When it comes to our City Hall, it’s time for Juneau to stop spending millions on rent and stop-gap repairs on a failing building that doesn’t meet our needs.” 

– Kenny Solomon-Gross, Juneau business owner 

“Not only is a new city hall the better financial decision for our Juneau, but the ability to house all CBJ employees in one location is so important for collaboration and productivity. Keeping Juneau’s city hall and staff downtown, in the nucleus of Juneau commerce, is critical to our economy and helps our city thrive in all seasons.” 

– Midgi Moore, Owner of Juneau Food Tours

As a longtime member of the downtown business community, I look for projects that support a vibrant and sustainable Juneau.  Not only would the new proposed city hall save millions on rent and necessary repairs, but it would also provide a real, long-term and functional solution by bringing all of CBJ’s staff and services into one easily accessible City Hall that meets the needs of all of Juneau.

– Eric Forst, Partner, Red Dog Saloon

“I believe we need a new, well designed, energy efficient facility for most if not all of the administrative offices required to manage this city. A Municipal Building for the City of Juneau.

I believe that spending money on rehabilitating 155 South Seward, is a bad option and a poor use of public funds including my tax dollars. The same goes for maintaining leased office space in the Marine View Building. Aside from the much discussed maintenance required for both of these properties, these working environments have been subpar for years, possibly decades. Some overheated, others under heated, and all poorly ventilated. Possibly a contributing factor in our inability to fill positions within the CBJ.”

– Daniel Glidmann,  CBJ resident for 49 years

Community Survey Information

Pie chart visualizing the answers to this question: How supportive are you of CBJ developing a new City Hall versus continuing to rent office space. 39% very supportive, 35% supportive, 8% opposed, 10% very opposed, 9% Don't Know

In fall 2021, the City & Borough of Juneau asked residents to participate in a survey regarding the need for a New City Hall.  A total of 1,326 Juneau residents responded. 74% indicated they were supportive of a new facility with parking for public and staff as the highest ranking factor. Other factors included in the survey were the length of service life, energy efficiency, location, and access.

Support for development for a new City Hall was geographically consistent with over 70% support from all areas of town. Full survey results are available here.