Wrangell’s Port Commission approved the first step in the sale of city property and tidelands near the Stikine Inn. Owners of the hotel and restaurant, Bill and Cheryl Goodale, have been working to expand the hotel for a couple of years.

“The purpose of this is to expand our operation. We’re hoping for 30 rooms plus retail space on the lower floor where the visitor shed sits now,” said bill Goodale.

The hotel currently has 34 rooms.  The Goodales offered about $64,500 for the property, significantly less than the appraised value of $101,200. They plan to fill about 55 feet of tidelands, adding about 27,000 square feet to their property. The main addition would be built on the southern end of the building near city dock, but the northern end may also be expanded.

A permit from the Army Corps of Engineers is required to fill in the tidelands. Goodale cited the uncertainty of the acquiring the permit as his reasoning for the offer.

“For our risk and possibly have the Corps of Engineers say you’re not filling in here, that didn’t justify the appraised price,” he explained.

Goodale estimates the expansion will funnel up to $125,000 in sales, bed and property taxes into the borough’s coffers after it’s completed. Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch wrote a letter to the Wrangell Borough Assembly in January supporting the sale as an economic driver, and the assembly supported the idea prior to the appraisal in 2015.

Jabusch noted about $20,000 in property taxes alone could make onto the borough’s tax rolls. The borough is currently struggling with tax payers aging out of property taxes.

Goodale estimates the expansion will support six additional year-round and seven peak-season positions. He also reminded the Commission of the lack of boarding in town. The number of boarding rooms has decrease with the conversion of the Sourdough Lodge to an assisted-living facility. Goodale said the expansion is intended to support the lack of rooms and attract small conferences.

Commissioner Clay Hammer backed the expansion, reiterating that the proposal has come across the Commission’s agenda in the past and has had support.

“The only thing that has changed in that time frame is that we have an appraised value on the table that they didn’t have before. I don’t see where that’s the concern of the ports and harbors. I think that’s something for them to work out with the folks on the assembly,” said Hammer.

The sale was approved unanimously. Commissioners John Yeager and Gary Morrison weren’t present. The sale still needs to be approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Economic Development Committee and finalized by the assembly.