The City of Fairbanks continues with the demolition on the Polaris Building

The Polaris building is undergoing a huge makeover this summer.
Published: Jun. 30, 2023 at 2:18 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Downtown Fairbanks has become the scene of a major project with the demolition of the iconic Polaris Building.

From tearing down the connected annex to removing hazardous materials from the tower, contractors are hard at work to get as much of the building’s removal done before winter sets in.

“We are under no time crunch, there’s no business going to be operating on here. I am happy to say we have had no airborne complaints about air pollution or noise pollution,” said David Pruhs, Mayor of Fairbanks.

Due to its ongoing demolition, contractors have encountered a few surprises.

“Some of the issues that we ran into are mainly structural issues when we get into some of these older buildings that don’t have as-builts we’ve run into a whole variety of problems,” said Cuauhtémoc Rodriguez President of Coldfoot Environmental Services.

While contractors have begun deconstructing the building, the City of Fairbanks is beginning to process what it may become once the structure is gone and reconstruction begins.

“I know we need housing downtown; I envision maybe a few floors of top end condominiums. So, we have a mixture of office space, some retail top-end condominiums,” said Mayor Pruhs.

With the Polaris Building on its way out, the interior has been waiting to see what the space will become for the next 50 years.

Over the last 70 years, the structure has stood tall over the golden heart city. “You know this has been a landmark legacy building that operated for over 50 years, 20-22 years of not operating. Going into a state of deterioration, all of Fairbanks has been waiting for this,” Mayor Pruhs stated.