Downtown Anchorage with the Chugach Mountains in the background

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Submitted comments will appear below after staff approval.
Emily Nenon 7/8/2016 11:49:46 AM
As a 25-year resident of Anchorage, I am very concerned about the precedent set by allowing our city to become even less pedestrian friendly as evidenced by the current physical restrictions surrounding the Nordstrom Rack at the Mall at Sears. I have seen the Mall at Sears go through ups and downs over the years, but it remains a key anchor for midtown development. Basic accommodations like an interior entrance from the mall stores into the rest of the mall, as well as a sidewalk allowing safe passage on the exterior, are critical to maintaining both the business health and consumer safety in midtown. Please do not allow this exemption and thereby set an example for further development in our city. Thank you for your consideration and for holding to the standards set in our city codes. Sincerely, Emily Nenon
Heather Aronno 7/8/2016 11:32:32 AM
I write in support of requiring an interior connection between the Rack store and the main mall. Anchorage already struggles with providing adequate passage and entryways for those with mobility challenges. Accessibility is crucial in maintaining fairness for our residents. Not requiring this entryway would set an unfortunate precedent for future building construction.
Jennifer Perkins 6/29/2016 2:50:57 PM
I am a shop owner for Human NERDS Clothing Co. Ever since The Rack came through, we have experienced a huge decrease in sales forcing the store to shutdown due to the lack of revenue to cover our overhead expenses. We have noticed a significant decrease in traffic flow and the separation of the mall does not add any fluidity to the mall nor does it provide accessibility for clients to freely shop from one store to another. This has caused not only financial distress to business owners but emotional distress as well. It does not look right for The Rack to be separated from the rest of the mall and for customers to walk outside and around the building. This is a huge safety concern for many types of people to include the disabled persons, for instance. The mall needs to really consider the safety of all patrons, to maintain a welcoming environment for both consumers and vendors, so the mall can successfully thrive and be sustainable for many more years to come.
Marjorie Fulmer 6/12/2016 9:10:27 PM
I'm sure I'm not the only Anchorage shopper who would appreciate not having to deal with traffic & weather while trying to shop.
Lynn Clarke 6/11/2016 10:44:16 AM
Nordstrom Rack/Sears Mall: Last year there was so much excitement that the Nordstrom Rack was coming to Anchorage. During construction it was difficult for anyone to see mall access into Nordstrom Rack. Prior to the grand opening of the store, Nordstrom rack employees circulated flyers in the mall letting people know the store would be opening soon. When I asked several Nordstrom Rack employees if there was access from the mall, they simply pointed towards the Sears store and said "yes, you'll enter from there." They lied. It is very dangerous especially in the dark to navigate your way from the mall through the parking lot and into their store. During winter the parking lot can get extremely icy. If you observe people who park in front of the Nordstrom Rack store, they don't go anywhere else. They don't go to Sears and they don't go in the mall to shop in the local merchants' stores or even at the indoor farmers' market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Christmas shopping is hectic with foot traffic and parking. Too many situations where cars are backing up in the dark and people are walking all over the place. Recommend the MOA require inside mall access to the Nordstrom Rack. By asking citizen participation the Planning and Zoning Department is accepting responsibility to these oversights and the first person who gets hurt walking to and from the mall to the Nordstrom Rack will look for deep pockets to sue.
Dianne Holmes 6/10/2016 5:15:06 PM
I am amazed that the city granted the permit to remodel the Sears Mall without adhering to the current codes to make our commercial areas safer and more walkable. There should be access directly from the mall to the Rack. There should be a sidewalk outside as well. I do not know the full story behind the granting of this remodel without public input, but the ADN article does not give a picture of an honest and transparent public process.
Danika Simpson 6/10/2016 3:09:44 PM
I love Nordstrom but I make separate visits to shop the Rack store. I don't want to leave the mall, walk around the building, dodging multiple cars just to patronize a store. No matter how great and to ask me to in winter ... Forget it. SEARS Mall was one of the first indoor malls in Anchorage. My parents shopped here, I worked in the mall as a teen, my children are now shoppers and regulars. The new businesses the mall is attracting are great. However the poor planning of the Rack store is inconvenient and unsafe.
Misty Levitt 6/10/2016 1:45:28 PM
I do not wish to have my safety disreguarded. I do not wish to walk the road to get from one store to the rest of the mall (wish it's connected to). I also feel it's a customer dissatisfaction when shopping to have to walk so far when it's really close. Another customer dissatisfaction, I do not shop regularly at the rack because I do not wish to risk my safety to walk with traffic. I feel that there should be an adiquate entrance from the mall to the rack. In the months it's cold and icy it becomes more of a risk factor to walk the roadway where people aren't paying much attention in the first place.
Laura Davidson 6/10/2016 1:16:43 PM
To whom it may concern, Upon the completion of the The Rack, I was disappointed to see that I could not access the store directly from the Mall. My routine is to drive into the South parking lot of the Mall and go in through the center entrance, make a loop through the Mall and end up in Sears at the North side of the Mall. I find it very inconvenient and unsafe to go out side to get to the Rack.Traffic is a huge concern, as well as an often slippery roadway in the winter. Thank you for your time in hearing my concerns. Respectfully, Laura Davidson Eagle River
Sonya= Senkowsky 6/10/2016 11:57:26 AM
Dear Members of the Commission, I am a 21-year resident of Anchorage, writing to express my concern about your streamlined approval of changes at the Mall at Sears, including those that you yourselves understood would be worse for the site, and for the public. The Mall is so well-known locally it has landmark status. When I was researching my picture book on Alaska, “Alaska Then and Now: Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks,” I was struck by how important and central this Mall has been in shaping our community. (It appears in an aerial shot from 1969 on page 56, and again in a similar picture almost 40 years later.) For years, I've enjoyed going to the Mall. Even with all the other new options in town, I like to shop there for gifts as well as for eyeglasses, shoes and – recently – I even picked up a chainsaw when I saw, on the way out, that wildfires threatened our neighborhood. There’s a big advantage in the impulse-shopping accessibility of a mall! Recently, I’ve had colleagues (with no connection to the mall) invite me to Steamdot for business meetings. But, though it is central to our daily activities, Anchorage shoppers were not well-informed of the changes. So, like most shoppers, I only found out about the changes at the Rack once I tried to get back and forth within the Mall to visit the store. (And even then, I assumed there must be some “inside” entrance through Sears, since this kind of outside-access-only store had never been created here before.) Lately, I was asked to help with the merchants’ efforts. And what I’ve learned has prompted me to write you about my concerns as a private citizen. I have looked at your decision-making more closely than most members of the public are likely to do. And now that I understand what’s happened and have learned more, I am not only disappointed, but I feel a loss of confidence in the Commission, to learn that a plan that you yourselves saw was dangerous could be allowed with your blessing, under rules whose intent was to make us a more pedestrian-friendly, safer community. In fact, the more I’m finding out, the less I understand. It seems to me as though the commission was able to find endless semantic reasons to approve this project – but does not recognize in the Code any useful way to address the legitimate concerns the Commission obviously shares with many of us regarding safety and access. Even if you think your approach adheres to the code as you have traditionally enforced it, none of this is the intent, as stated in Municipal Code. I ask you to please take another look at the overriding intent of the Big Box rules and to realize that you have a big responsibility before you: to keep developments moving in the right direction – toward safety, toward inclusiveness of those of all ages and abilities, and toward sensible construction, which maintains the positives of the past while moving forward. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Sonya Senkowsky
Nicole Bucy 6/10/2016 11:54:38 AM
Unsafe to walk outside of the mall without sidewalks.
Peggy Robinson 6/10/2016 11:54:14 AM
I am the Interim President of MidTown Community Council. We chose not to take a position on this at our monthly meeting on June 8. However, we are overall supportive of strengthening existing and new businesses and improving safe access to them.
Margaret Auth 6/10/2016 10:27:50 AM
I thought when watching the construction of the Rack that it was in a preliminary stage and that at some point there would be a connection to the interior of the rest of the mall. What a poor design. It feels like a step backward in pedestrian/shopper amenities. It feels divorced from the other shops and the parking lot on the north side. It's very unsafe.
Robyn Lauster 6/10/2016 10:02:39 AM
I first visited The Rack at Sears Mall a couple of months ago and was surprised to find I could not access it through the mall when shopping at the Farmer's Market. This is not only inconvenient and discourages visits, it could be dangerous for pedestrians particularly in winter. This could have been better planned with the shopper in mind. I am much less likely to check out The Rack as it is.
Sarah Mayfield 6/10/2016 9:13:23 AM
I would like to appeal the approval of the Nordstrom design. Ever since it opened, we have had customers complaining about not being able to get to the Rack from the mall and to the Mall from the Rack. Setting the Rack up on purpose so that it is not a part of the Mall was hubris on Nordstom's part. We were all excited to have the Rack come to Alaska and dismayed by the cavalier way they deliberately ignored the requirements for access. Further, the only way to get to the Rack from the Mall currently is to go through Sears. If Sears is leased out, there will be no access at all. Anchorage deserves better.
Robin Scheff 6/10/2016 9:03:00 AM
This is a very unsafe situation here. I absolutely feel that people should be able to enter through from the mall, and not have to fight parking lot traffic to get in and pick up stuff. It's just dangerous.
Gwen Perrin 6/10/2016 8:39:25 AM
When I read the commentary in the paper it put to words the frustration I feel on the occasions I go to the Mall. I try to consolidate trips (market days) and won't move my car around the parking lot. There is no way to access the Rack without going outside - even if only going to Sears.
Ronald Simpson 6/10/2016 8:28:48 AM
Please CONTINUE to APPROVE Nordstrom Rack. It offers us visitors to town ONE MORE REASON to come all the way to Anchorage instead to travelling only as far as Wasilla-Palmer in order to shop. I have read the objections and see nothing that creates any unusual problem for those of us who would love to have that shopping option in Anchorage. Thank you.
Shelly Morgan 6/10/2016 6:29:11 AM
I recall wanting to go from the Nordstrom Rack to thw ATT store and not being able to find easy access into the mall. Fortunately the weather was ok. This should be fixed. If you are going to be at a mall location, people should be able to go in and out of your store from a mall entrance in addition to outside facing doors. Otherwise you should be a stand alone business away from a mall. In the winter this would be particularly bad.
kass taggart 6/9/2016 9:34:27 PM
Been there a few times. I havent seen a problem with walkin in and out of the store. I sometimes see people walking all over rather than crossing in front of the front door. Maybe just make white lines on where people are allowed to cross. And what seats? I dont remember seeing this. A sidewalk wont stop me from shoping....but ease of getting in and out of the parking lot with my car will change my mind on going there or not.
Crystal Burkhart 6/9/2016 7:22:50 PM
As a tenant of the mall, I believe making people walk outside to access the mall is detrimental to not only older and disabled customers but also to the buisness owners in the mall who rely on foot traffic from Sears and Nordstrom rack to succeed. Please make a safe and easy way for people to access the mall
Shayna Hayes 6/9/2016 5:14:15 PM
The most sensible thing to do in this situation is to remove the parking spaces along that side of the building. This would allow for more room for both pedestian and vehicle passage. It is outlandish to insinuate that the only viable compromise here is to make a pathway within the complex. Forcing the Sears Mall/Nordstrom Rack to start construction on such an expensive project, would cause hardship for a business that is helping our local economy. Nordstrom Rack is revitalizing a mall that is part of Anchorage's history.
Susan Morgan 6/9/2016 2:27:55 PM
The first time I went to the Rack I was very confused. I thought I must be missing some connecting hallway or doorway from inside the mall or something. So, since I was parked on the "back" side of the mall, I just wandered around the outside of the building, dodging traffic, until I found the Rack entrance. But it was icy and dangerous with people driving fast in that lot anyway, so I thought the whole thing was odd. It would be much better in a climate like Alaska's to have an inside entrance, or at least a covered access from the Mall.
VALERIE CANZLER 6/8/2016 2:04:09 PM
Watching the video of shoppers trying to get into the store at the Sears Mall is terrifying! There is no way I would EVER go there to shop if I had to walk through that much traffic - especially in the winter! How the city let the improvements be completed without a sidewalk to keep shoppers safe is not good! Changes need to be required to keep people safe.
Alan Smith 6/7/2016 11:34:48 AM
Please fix the pedestrian access Northside of Sears mall. Somehow it got messed up when The Rack store went in and it never get fixed back up.
Raymond Rouse 2/23/2016 12:16:27 PM
A corridor framed in by glass could easily connect the Rack with the mall entrance. The best shopping experience would allow for all stores be accessible from the common areas already established as a in-door shopping center. Removing the pedestrian walk way around the front of the Rack was a poor design choice and is now a safety concern for shoppers.