Development Dreams: Old Power Plant in Ship Creek

Power Pant

I love this building. It’s kinda weird, run down, and has so so so much potential. I used to hope that no one wanted it and someday I could buy it and ask graffiti artists to create beautiful murals on its blank canvas walls for me to gaze at…

Alas, it turns out that many people have dreams for this building (also, I could probably never even come close to purchasing it) and if the Ship Creek Master Plan moves forward, it will be brought back to life for round two as a power plant.

A power plant is a very practical idea, and is especially attractive because it could provide buildings in the area with lower operating costs while reusing existing infrastructure. It might be a foundation piece of future Ship Creek development, which I really hope happens. So, I’m on board with the power plant idea, except… well… my dream for it is decidedly less practical, but (in my estimation) infinitely more fun. And a girl can dream, right?

Here are my wandering development thoughts:

  1. Just look at the two levels of lovely, expansive, flat roofs.  Aren’t they just crying out to become some sort of landscaped rooftop patio?
  2. A path leads passersby along Ship Creek (not included in this photo) with the power plant conveniently adjacent – wouldn’t it be lovely to pop in for a bite to eat or an afternoon drink?
  3. Of course, a restaurant alone might not cut it.  But perhaps, there’s room for a brewery?
  4. Even better, creative (low-cost) spaces for artists (AND a brewery?)!
  5. What if the artists could live there too? Would that be cool or crazy?

My dreams for this building are inspired by one of my all-time favorite places to visit when I lived in Washington, D.C., the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. As I’m sure you can guess from the name, the building was a torpedo factory (pretty obvious, right?) but has since been converted to an art center.

Here’s a description for you:

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is the highlight of Alexandria’s Potomac River waterfront, attracting approximately 500,000 visitors annually. Visit 82 artists’ studios, six galleries, two workshops, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. Sign up for an art class with The Art League School. Enjoy a cup of coffee and light fare in our Café by Bread & Chocolate. Then stroll along the waterfront, shop and sightsee on nearby historic streets, have a picnic on the dock behind the art center, or dine in the area’s many fine restaurants.

The Torpedo Factory Art Center houses more than 165 visual artists who produce artwork in a wide variety of media including painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, stained glass, fiber, printmaking, and sculpture. The artists invite visitors to join them in their studios and observe their creative processes. You may ask questions, learn about each of their art forms, and purchase original work.

There are similarities, right? Old building, check. Waterfront, check. Walkable neighborhood (semi-walkable, at least), check. Soon to be surrounded by fine dining, check (assuming people start moving into the area and visitors increase if/when the plan is implemented). Sounds pretty great, right?

So I ask you, power plant or restaurant/brewery/landscaped patios/artist studios/whateverelsefunwecanfitinthere?

In none of the above, what do you dream for this building to be?

Author: Gretchen Fauske

I love Anchorage. I love what it is, what it's been, and what I dream it will be. I share my adventures with DJ (my husband), my fabulous family and friends, two frenchies named Grover and Teddy, and now, all of you. If you love Anchorage too, get in touch - guest posts are welcome!