Telephone Hill Redevelopment Survey

Project Background

In June 2019, Governor Dunleavy’s staff listed the Telephone Hill property as potentially excess to the SOA’s needs and potentially available for transfer from SOA to foster economic redevelopment. CBJ worked with the Dunleavy Administration and the Alaska Legislature, resulting in the authorization to transfer the property to CBJ during the 2022 Legislative session. Upon transfer of the land, CBJ began accepting proposals for the Telephone Hill Land Redevelopment Study from qualified consultants in order to study potential redevelopment options for the site and their future impact to Downtown Juneau.

Latest Updates

2/12/2024: CBJ Staff gives update to Juneau Assembly Committee as a Whole. The Juneau Assembly motions for continued design refinement of high-density housing development.

2/6/2024: NLURA completes a Cultural Resource Desktop Review of the Telephone Hill site and buildings.

12/08/2023: Telephone Hill Redevelopment survey is made available through 01/09/2024. (survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TelephoneHillRedevelopment)

11/29/2023: RESPEC completes a structural condition assessment report of the existing homes on Telephone Hill.

10/11/2023: Project team hosts a public engagement session to present design concepts for redevelopment.

8/26/2023: A project update is given at the Juneau Assembly Committee as a Whole.

7/26/2023: Project team hosts the first public open house to introduce the project and begin collecting public input.

6/14/2023: First Forty Feet’s contract is signed and project kick-off work begins.

3/10/2023: CBJ elects First Forty Feet out of Portland, OR to be the prime consultant in the study.

12/21/2022: CBJ begins soliciting for consultants to assist in redevelopment study

Contact Us

To comment, provide input, or for general project inquiries, please email [email protected]

Study Area & Current Use

The project study area sits on roughly 4.2 acres of land in Downtown Juneau. Telephone hill is confined by Willoughby Avenue to the North, Main Street to the South, Egan Drive to the West and the Alaska State Office Building to the East. Today, the area includes 13 residential rental units, surface and structured parking, the Downtown Transit Center, and a public park and road.

Access challenges make Telephone Hill a relatively low-traffic area compared to the rest of Downtown Juneau. Due to the extreme topography, there are limited options for traveling to or through Telephone Hill which acts as a natural barrier between the Downtown and Aak’w Kwaan Village Districts. Popular access features include W. 3rd Street for vehicular traffic and elevators at the DTC Parking Garage and State Office Building for pedestrians.

Project Purpose

The purpose of the project is to prepare a redevelopment master plan and implementation strategy for future redevelopment of the Telephone Hill project area that is informed by both a public engagement process and engineering analysis. The process is intended to deliver outcomes reflecting community values, addressing community needs, and meeting the market requirements for pedestrian-oriented and urban development.

The project will complete environmental, historical, and site condition analysis to provide the City Manager, staff and Assembly with alternatives for redevelopment or conservation and foster public engagement to inform decision-making for the future of the site by the CBJ Assembly.

Project Timeline

The project is split between two general phases. Phase I focuses on project orientation with tasks that include research, documenting existing conditions, identifying opportunities and challenges, and initiating public outreach.

Phase II will develop the Master Plan and perform concept engineering that will ultimately be presented to the CBJ Assembly. Tasks for this phase include additional public outreach, site condition surveys, producing design concepts and infrastructure design, and finalizing a redevelopment master plan with alternatives.

The project team is currently completing building and site assessment reports that will assist in refining design concepts. Further design refinement will incorporate public comment as well as direction from the Juneau Assembly with a first-draft master plan expected to be complete in Spring 2024.

Community Outreach

Public feedback is important to the CBJ and the project team in identifying community values and desired outcomes for potential redevelopment in the project study area.

The first public open house for the project was held on July 26, 2023 and allowed the project team to introduce the project and solicited input from about 60 Juneau residents. A questionnaire was presented and gave the audience the opportunity to submit responses. Those responses help show the public perception of the current Telephone Hill and identify community values that will assist in determining the future of the area. The results can be found in the “Relevant Documents” tab.

An engagement session was held on October 11, 2023 to present the initial design concepts for redevelopment. These concepts showed a varying level of development including low to high density housing as well as mixed infill that would preserve the existing houses. The intent of these concepts is to visualize redevelopment and allow the community to comment on each concept in order to show their ideal development scenario.

A public online survey was open from December 12, 2023 through January 9, 2024. This survey asked for public opinion on the design concepts and how Telephone Hill can best fulfill the needs of the community. The final results of this survey can be found in the “Relevant Documents” tab. Members of the public are encouraged to comment on future development on Telephone Hill by reviewing previous design concepts and project documents.

Additional public comment can be sent to [email protected]

Historic Preservation

The City and Borough of Juneau, First Forty Feet, and MRV Architects have been working to address the historic preservation components of the Telephone Hill redevelopment area as part of the development of a master plan and high-level civil engineering concepts.

The project location was formerly owned by the State of Alaska (SOA) but was classified as surplus property and subsequently transferred to the CBJ for economic redevelopment during the 2022 legislative session.

In its current configuration, the project is not a Federal Undertaking subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Project does not involve State of Alaska owned or controlled lands and is not subject to the provisions of the Alaska Historic Preservation Act. Despite the lack of a federal or state nexus that would trigger an assessment of the Project’s potential to impact historic properties and in response to feedback received through community outreach, the CBJ has chosen to complete a cultural resource desktop assessment and update a historic site and structures survey for the known sites (structures) listed on the Alaska Heritage Resources Survey (AHRS), located within the Telephone Hill redevelopment area.

CBJ contracted with First Forty Feet (FFF) who hired two firms to provide historic preservation expertise and to complete these efforts:

  • FFF contracted Northern Land Use Research Alaska, LLC (NLURA) to complete a cultural resource desktop assessment. Beginning in August 2023, NLURA completed a review of previous reports, surveys, and consultation documents to identify cultural resources and historic properties within the Project Study Area.
  • FFF contracted with MRV Architects to update the Telephone Hill Historic Site and Structures Survey of 1984. Beginning in August 2023, the project team looked at the history of Telephone Hill and surveyed individual structures to update the 1984 report.

 

Next Steps

Based on the results of the cultural resource desktop assessment and update to the Telephone Hill Historic Site and Structures Survey of 1984, the following can be expected:

  • The assessment and updated survey will be made available to the public, posted to the project website, and provided to the CBJ Assembly.
  • The Assembly to determine how to proceed, with potential options that may include but are not limited to:
    • Submitting individual determination of National Register eligibility evaluations to the Alaska State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) for known buildings, structures, etc. located within the Telephone Hill redevelopment area.
    • Submitting a historic district-level determination of National Register eligibility evaluation to the Alaska SHPO for the historic-age Telephone Hill neighborhood.