Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Watching the Eagle like a hawk

Wondering what’s up with the “Opening Soon” Eagle Hotel that looks a long way from opening in downtown Palmer? The Post was too. 
You may remember the story that our own Melodie Wright broke last year: the owner of Sicily’s Pizza had purchased the space on South Colony Way formerly occupied by the Gold Miner’s Hotel, which closed down in January 2008 due to health and fire code issues.
Melodie never could reach Sicily’s owner, Atli Dobrova. I struck out, too, though a nice lady with a Russian accent passed along lots of messages to another family member, Egzona. 
But based on information from the city it appears that yes, the Eagle Hotel is still under construction and no, the new owner isn’t walking away. 
Apparently it’s taking longer than expected to get the, shall we say, under-maintained building back up to snuff. 
“It’s just an old building,” said Palmer building inspector David Meneses. “It has not had tender loving care. So consequently, if you don’t repair a building and keep it up to date it takes more to get it up to date.”
Atli Dobrova and his company, AD Real Estate LLC, spent $92,500 on building alterations last year. And unlike the prior owners, AD is also current on its borough property taxes. The company paid its tax bills in 2010 and 2011 for $20,203 and $18,629 respectively. The Gold Miner’s owners owed the borough $50,000 in back taxes and owed other people, too. 
The Eagle Hotel building permit gave the building owner 180 days to start work and then as long as work doesn’t discontinue for 180 days the permit remains good, Meneses said. The company is doing general repairs like electrical upgrades and handicapped-accessible improvements, as well as more aesthetic improvements - new paint, new carpet. 
There’s even a very basic Web site - - that initially makes it look like things are pretty swanky inside until you realize that the room photos are probably stock and at least a little bit of the copy actually describes the Millenium Alaskan Hotel in Anchorage - views of Lake Spenard, fresh seafood at the Flying Machine Restaurant. They're still working out the bugs and probably just wanted a virtual placeholder. 
A company representative stays in touch with Meneses. He’s pretty sure AD Real Estate is just as eager to open as all the pizza-lovers and Palmer boosters who want that off-white elephant in a crucial downtown property thriving again. 
“They’re dumping a lot of money into it and not getting anything back,” Meneses said. 

-- Zaz Hollander

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