MOA Acquires Best Western Golden Lion Hotel to Address Gaps in Substance Misuse Treatment
The Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) has completed the purchase of the Best Western Golden Lion Hotel, which will be converted into a substance misuse treatment center. The center will address a longstanding need for additional treatment services in the MOA.
The $9.3 million purchase was funded with proceeds from the sale of Municipal Light and Power (ML&P), $15 million of which is designated for a treatment center. The remainder of those funds will be used to prepare and convert the building for its new purpose.
“This purchase answers the call of the many Alaskans who need treatment to recover, stay employed, and support their families,” says Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson.
“Not only is the purchase an investment in an array of mental health services, but an investment in our local economy. This dire need has been left unaddressed for too long and I’m thankful to our partners and the Assembly for making this transformational investment possible.”
While the demand for behavioral health treatment services has increased in the municipality, the availability of treatment options in general has decreased over the last decade, especially for individuals with special conditions.
The new treatment center will help meet that demand.
Services will focus on treating individuals with alcohol misuse disorder, particularly individuals who require a longer treatment period to recover due to overlapping behavioral health and medical conditions.
“The Trust has long been an advocate of efforts to increase access to quality substance use treatment, understanding that substance misuse results in long-term negative health impacts for Trust beneficiaries,” says Mike Abbott, CEO of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. “Increased access to care will help individuals struggling with addiction achieve improved health outcomes. We appreciate the Municipality’s leadership in increasing treatment capacity, helping ensure that help is available when an individual is ready for it.”
The MOA conducted a thorough due diligence process that evaluated the entitlement, structural, and environmental condition of the property. The building is in good condition and well-suited for its intended purpose.
The MOA will complete identified repairs and issue a request for proposal (RFP) to select a facility operator experienced in providing these services.
The RFP will require any operator to demonstrate a successful track record and plan for delivering services while operating as a good neighbor that provides benefit to the surrounding community. Similar treatment centers operate across the municipality with no adverse impact on surrounding properties.
“As co-chair of the Anchorage Homelessness Leadership Council, I want to extend our thanks and much gratitude to the Municipality for your leadership in the purchase of the property,” says Preston M. Simmons, Chief Executive of Alaska Providence St. Joseph Health.
“The facility will serve a key role and provide a much-needed service in Anchorage to struggling Alaskans to get their lives back on track. It provides a foundational piece in our continued efforts to reduce homelessness and one of its underlying causes. The services also go far beyond serving those that are homeless and will be a great asset to all our families and neighbors in their time of need.”
The MOA expects the facility to provide ongoing treatment support to 75 to 100 individuals at a given time, though that number remains contingent on treatment and design decisions that will be made when an operator is identified.
“The treatment center located in Midtown is a first step at laying a solid foundation to address behavioral health issues many Alaskans face,” says Assembly Chair Felix Rivera and Assembly Member Meg Zaletel. “Anchorage is leading the way through strategic investments to ensure that when residents need help, they can get help.”