Cool Thoughts for Hot Days…

By Mark Carrell, Regional Director of Property Management, Arcadia Management Group

When you’re muddling through a summer heat wave, it can be hard to imagine life – or property management – in the extreme cold.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, Arcadia Management’s Ed Willis (Mall Manager) and Theresa McGrath (Assistant Manager) oversee Bentley Mall, built during the construction of the Alaska Oil Pipeline in the 1970s and still reigning as the largest mall and retail center in Fairbanks.

If you’re looking for “cool” thoughts during these hot summer days, read on about Ed and Theresa’s winter property management adventures in “The Last Frontier.”

  • Temperature Extremes – In any given year, Fairbanks will experience a 150-degree swing in temperature (from -60F in winter to +90F in summer). This is the largest temperature swing of any city in the Western Hemisphere!

During cold winter months, AMG’s property managers diligently monitor large oil and gas boilers at Bentley Mall, which run until the building reaches +70F and then shut off until needed again.

  • Snowshoes on the Roof – Bentley Mall can see more than 90 inches of snow in the winter. Once the snow arrives, it stays until warmer temperatures return in spring.

When heating equipment needed to be checked on the mall roof, Ed got creative… donning snowshoes to successfully cross the snow-covered rooftop.

  • Where to Go with the Snow? – The Bentley Mall property management team is diligent about snow removal. But since snow in Fairbanks does not melt in the winter, where to go with the snow becomes an ongoing challenge.

A vacant parcel of land serves as the mall’s “Snow Dump.” Over the winter, snow is cleared from the property’s walkways and parking lots, and relocated/compacted by a bulldozer at this alternative location. By the end of the winter, snow at the Bentley Mall “Snow Dump” lot can reach 30 feet deep!

  • Pipes of Ice – As Spring returns, snow often melts during the day… only to run into sewer drains where it freezes solid as nighttime temperatures plunge.

When this happens, Ed and Theresa call in a truck-mounted steam boiler, which drops a long steam hose into frozen drains. This causes the ice to melt and effortlessly flow into retention basins.

  • Let There be Light – Winter days in Fairbanks are short – sometimes lasting only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On these days, darkness in Fairbanks can last up to 20 hours. To keep the premises safe, Bentley Mall property managers pay careful attention to lighting.

LED technology keeps parking lots at Bentley Mall burning bright during its extended “dark” operating hours – with long-lasting bulbs that require less replacement and energy efficiency to boot.

From the extremes in Phoenix to the extremes in Fairbanks, Arcadia Management Group applies region-specific best practices to maximize a property’s success. Contact us anytime to learn more about the benefits we can bring to your building.