Uncertain future for vacant neighborhood storefront

While development work on nine empty lots along Richmond Avenue is set to begin this summer, the future of the former Brewster’s store next door remains in limbo.

Tyler Robinson, senior manager of development finance at Cook Inlet Housing Authority, said in an email that his organization plans to build eight duplexes and a single-family home on the vacant Richmond Avenue land. The housing authority also hoped to develop the Brewster’s lot, Robinson wrote, but there are challenges.

The concrete-block building, located at 3825 Mountain View Dr. and built in 1965, cannot be leased because of its condition, Robinson wrote. Eventually, the housing authority hoped to demolish it to make room for new development. There’s a catch.

“Demolition will not take place until we have a redevelopment plan, as funding sources would be negatively affected if the site is vacant at the time of redevelopment,” read a CIHA informational handout. “We are patient as we actively look for the right opportunity.”

The right opportunity could be difficult to find, because CIHA was unable to purchase the dry cleaner at the intersection of Bragaw and Mountain View Drive.

“This has presented a challenge to developing the site and limits the opportunities for a “corner” presence,” Robinson wrote.

The housing authority’s informational handout, which Robinson said had been distributed to the Mountain View Community Council and other community partners, mentioned mixed-use residential and commercial redevelopment as the “most likely” future for the site. Given the development plans for Richmond Avenue, though, Robinson said he thought the Brewster’s redevelopment would probably be strictly commercial.

“We may look at a mixed-use building but I personally think there will be some challenges,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, CIHA said the building remains vacant and the utilities are shut off. According to municipal tax records, the property’s taxable value was assessed at nearly $900,000 this year. It includes an 18,000-square-foot building and 11,000-square-foot parking lot.

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