After going through the Historic District Commission application process and a Skagway Board of Appeals hearing, Timos and Ariana Giamakiois were granted permission to move the doors of the Diamond Marquis building from the north corner to its center.
The Board of Appeals first voted whether they should uphold the HDC decision to deny the building owner’s request. That vote failed 1-5. The board then voted 5-1 to allow the Giamakiois to proceed with their construction. In 2007, the Giamakiois moved the doors from the center to the corner.
The assembly members said their reason for voting against the HDC decision was historic photos of the Waldorf hotel, which was the first building to be located in that spot on Broadway between 4th and 5th. The hotel had a single door in the center.
Hunz & Hunz Enterprises General Manager Craig Franke, who was representing the owners at the hearing, said the door has moved several times since the construction of the building, and added that not only would the change of doorway create more traffic into the business, it would also aid in public safety as the corner door opens right up into an alley.
Because the building, which used to be Moe’s Frontier Bar, is historic and its origins date back to the Klondike Gold Rush, it went through a lengthy application process within the HDC where commissioners ultimately voted 4-1 to not allow the doorway change.
In the hearing, Su Rappleye said the HDC was put in place to protect the historical integrity of the historic district and the buildings within it, and this building is unique and one of two historic buildings with corner doors. She said she couldn’t find a case for moving the door to the center because of safety, and added there are still 3-5 feet of boardwalk before the alley and doubts patrons would step blindly into the street anyway.
Historian Karl Gurcke, who is a non-voting consultant for the HDC, said he believed the Waldorf Hotel was a different building than the one that currently resides in that spot, and argued that the Diamond Marquis building was constructed after the Waldorf was moved or destroyed. But, Gurcke said, it is possible the Diamond Marquis building contains pieces of the Waldorf Hotel.