Defunct Ogden Exchange building gets new life with renovation

Monday , November 03, 2014 - 9:12 AM

OGDEN — A ghost of West Ogden’s past is set to come back to life.

This week, Ogden City will hold a special open house and ground breaking on blight reduction activities meant to prepare for a new business park on just over 50 acres surrounding the vacant Ogden Exchange Building near the old stockyards in West Ogden.

Cami Orr, Ogden marketing and communications administrator, said the event will include a historical presentation and walking tour through the Exchange Building. Orr said the public is invited to the event, which is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Exchange Building, 600 W. Exchange Road.

The city has been involved in a process to purchase $5.9 million worth of land on just over 50 acres surrounding the Exchange Building since June. Five individual properties are being sought by the city so they can begin a redevelopment project being called the Ogden Business Exchange.

The city is working with an undisclosed developer to build a light-manufacturing, industrial and business park in the area, which city officials say will spearhead growth in an area of Ogden that has been void of any major business activity for years.

The project is included in an economic development project area called the Trackline Economic Development Plan, which was adopted last year by the city council to assist with financing the OBE park.

The plan replaced what was known as the Golden Spike Redevelopment Plan, which was created by the city in 1989 in hopes of enticing new manufacturing and industrial businesses to the area. The project area was created in part because a malt company wanted to bring a large plant to the area, but the project the city anticipated from the malt company never happened, and the plan has stood still for the past 25 years.

The more than 120 acres in the project area was previously used as a stockyard and for livestock exchange, but the area has been underutilized for years. The Exchange Building hasn’t been used in more than 40 years and until recently has resembled a scene out of post-apocalyptic movie with its beaten down, graffiti-covered appearance.

The city has already made visible progress on the outside of the building, removing weeds from the front of the building and removing the broken windows and replacing them with red painted plywood. 

The building was designed by famous Ogden-area architect Leslie Simmons Hodgson, whose other work includes historical buildings like Ogden High, the U.S. Forest Service Building and the Ogden Municipal building. 

“It’s kind of like a ghost of Ogden’s past that’s just there for years and years,” Orr said. “I think people will be interested in seeing (the inside of the building). Other than some vandalism, it’s pretty much the same as it was years ago.”

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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