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COMMERCIAL: Hotels and stores included in complex near highway.

Anchorage Daily News

Published: February 21, 2007

WASILLA -- A local developer with a health-care background hopes to build an ambitious new commercial complex next to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

Plans for the center call for two hotels, one with a restaurant, a stand-alone restaurant, a bank and a retail-office complex, collectively known as "Crossroads Alaska." The complex would occupy 40 acres owned by Providence Alaska Medical Center next to the hospital at the Trunk Road and Parks Highway interchange.

There are no tenants to announce, developer Dave Pfeifer said. He said a bank could start construction this summer.

The location provides potential customers in some 3,000 people working or visiting in the hospital daily, but also from the steady flow of traffic along the Parks Highway, Pfeifer said.

The complex would be the first major commercial center visible from the highway between Wasilla and Anchorage, he said. "This is the first point of contact as you come through there."

The proposed complex comes as a commercial boom evolves in Wasilla.

The Cottonwood Creek Mall is expected to be redeveloped, with Target the rumored tenant, though that company and the mall owner are not confirming that information.

Meritage Development is planning two retail centers between the mall and the nearby Sears on Seward Meridian Parkway. So far, Sportsman's Warehouse is the only confirmed tenant, though city officials have said several unnamed big box stores are also involved. Meritage has also said it hopes to build restaurants.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart expects to open its remodeled supercenter in Wasilla -- the first in Alaska -- this summer.

Pfeifer, asked if he's worried about the competition, said while those developments are big box-oriented, his project will seek out smaller "community retail" companies and chains.

Household furnishings, women and children's clothing, books and stationery and hobby shops are among the retail needs in the area, according to a market study conducted for his company.

Pfeifer estimated the total build-out cost of the center at more than $87 million, which includes 131,000 square feet of retail space, 167,200 square feet of office space, two restaurants, a 140-room full-service hotel and another 80-room hotel without a restaurant. About $5 million of the total cost is utilities and roads.

Another advantage of the location is the water and sewer utilities extended to the hospital by the city of Palmer, Pfeifer said.

It also sits within a few minutes of The Ranch, a 653-lot subdivision south of Trunk Road developed by Rex Turner.

Pfeifer served for five years as chief executive officer of Valley Hospital, then spent an additional two years at Providence as an assistant administrator. After some soul-searching, he left his job to pursue real estate. After obtaining a master's in commercial real estate, he returned to Providence as a real estate manager, then left the hospital and opened his own commercial development firm.

The 40-acre parcel involved is owned by Providence. Pfeifer secured its purchase while he worked for the hospital. Then he started his own business, Titanium Development LLC. Pfeifer said he holds an exclusive 10-year development agreement on the property.

The hospital bought the property in 2005, said Providence spokeswoman Becky Hultberg.

Providence will approve any final decision regarding the development, Hultberg said.

"We want to add value to the community so we will be addressing the development with community needs in mind," she said.

Reporter Zaz Hollander can be reached at zhollander@adn.com or 352-6711.