In 2006, developers who spoke with the Daily News described their vision for the Glenn Square Mall as something that will look more like a quaint small-town scene than a strip mall. They may have achieved some of their goals, architecturally speaking. It features facades which vary in size, a clock tower, and pedestrian-friendly walkways - design improvements over many Anchorage strip malls.
What the Glenn Square doesn't have going for it, five years later, is tenants. The anchor stores are occupied: Michaels, Bed Bath & Beyond, Petco, Old Navy and Famous Footwear. They're flanked by 17 empty storefronts. Restaurants remain unbuilt on the property meant for it. The plan for housing to be sprinkled into the development is unrealized. A movie theater cancelled its plans for construction.
Anchorage Faith and Action - Congregations Together, a faith-based group trying to address quality of life issues, calls the project the 'elephant in the room'.
Mountain View community members gathered at the New Hope Baptist Church on Monday, January 24, to discuss what happened. AFACT organized the forum. It allowed residents a chance to air their concerns and frustrations, ask questions and offer ideas. Bill Popp of the Anchorage Economic Development Authority, Paul Roggenkamp, property manager for KIMKO Realty, and Jewel Jones of Anchorage Community Land Trust were on hand to listen.
AFACT described its mixed feelings about the mall in it's slideshow Monday. They called Glenn Square a $31 million treasure that has not realized its potential. "For the health of Mountain View this cannot continue," it concluded.
For more on Glenn Square Mall and the community's concerns, please see Julia O'Malley's column on Friday, January 28.