Anchorage hotel destroyed will be rebuilt

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The owners of the Anchorage hotel that burned to the ground April 9 say they plan to rebuild and are aiming to open March 1, 2003.

''After the fire, we wanted to rebuild, but we were overwhelmed,'' Fraser said. ''We weren't sure how to move ahead.''

Now the plan is to rebuild as quickly as possible, Fraser said. Demolition began last week, Fraser said. She estimated it would take two weeks to finish. Then the foundation will be checked for damage.

Lumber is due in the next few weeks. If the foundation permits, construction will begin this summer.

Aspen is an Anchorage-based hotel chain that, in the past few years, has bought or built hotels in Soldotna, Valdez, Fairbanks and Juneau.

Everything about the new 90-room hotel will be the same, Fraser said, from the design to the colors. But the construction site will have round-the-clock security, Fraser said.

Fire officials have given no word on what they believe started the fire. Witnesses at the scene reported homeless men sleeping in the building, scrambling to escape after the blaze started.

The fire caused $4.9 million in damage.

Just how much cost has been added to the project is unclear, Fraser said. Costs for demolition remain to be tallied, and Fraser said the company doesn't know whether it will have to pay more for insurance. The new timeline is another factor.

''We were building in winter,'' Fraser said. In the busy summer construction season, ''subcontractor costs might be a little more.''

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