Sunday , October 09, 2016 - 5:30 AM5 comments
OGDEN — A quick jaunt along 12th Street shows business is thriving on one of Ogden’s main commercial arteries — but city officials say the bustle didn’t happen overnight.
At least some of the seeds were planted in 2009, when Ogden City invested $1 million in a development that would be built on the southwest corner of 12th Street and Wall Avenue.
Once home to a Cream o'Weber processing plant, the area was subdivided in the 2000’s when the dairy company closed operations. A chocolate manufacturer, a trailer company and a few other businesses populated the area after Cream o’Weber closed.
“There were a few other odd businesses there,” said Tom Christopulos, Ogden’s Community and Economic Development Director. “It was a hodgepodge of things that really weren’t connected.”
The city’s investment, which came from a direct General Fund allocation, mostly went toward the environmental remediation of contaminated ground in the area.
“Some underground storage tanks had leaked and the area was in pretty bad shape,” Christopulos said. “It needed to be cleaned up.”
The cleanup paved the way for a 90,000-square-foot WinCo Foods grocery store. Ground broke on the store in 2009 and it was finished by 2010. A host of other businesses followed. PetSmart, GNC, Jimmy John’s, T-Mobile, Zaxby’s, Chase Bank and a few others operate in the area now, which is known as The Commons at Ogden.
Christopulos said the city saw a steady return on the investment through new sales and property taxes generated by businesses in an area that previously offered little tax revenue.
Although the WinCo project was finished before Mayor Mike Caldwell began his first term in office in 2012, he said it’s been a catalyst for growth.
“It’s been a critical part of what’s happened on 12th Street over the last several years,” Caldwell said. “Fred Meyer had been empty for quite a while and (the WinCo property) was basically an industrial field that had been abandoned. There was nothing going on.”
The Ogden City Council recently approved a plan to provide a $100,000 loan to demolish the Fred Meyer building, located diagonally across the 12th Street and Wall Avenue intersection from WinCo. When the building is demolished, IASIS Healthcare will build a smaller-scale hospital at the site.
Colorado-based health food chain Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers, Beans & Brews Coffee House, a Black Bear Diner franchise and AT&T all plan to open businesses on 12th Street.
Christopulos said many factors have contributed to the business growth there, including general economic improvement over the past few years and development of the Boyer Business Depot Ogden — but the WinCo development undoubtedly played a big role.
“You can’t make a direct correlation and say, ‘without the WinCo development none of these other things would be happening,’” he said. “Economic development is cumulative and there’s never one specific activity that’s the be-all end-all for success, but cleaning up that corner was definitely a big step.”
You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/mitchshaw.standardexaminer.
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