Ogden city planning large-scale development at old Wonder Bread site

Saturday , April 08, 2017 - 5:15 AM

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — The city’s redevelopment agency has an ambitious plan for the land surrounding the old Wonder Bread factory downtown.

Ogden is working with a Salt Lake City-based architect to design a mixed-use development between Lincoln and Grant avenues, stretching from 26th Street to the alley immediately behind businesses on the south side of 25th Street.

The development would include space for condos, rental units and office buildings. 

RELATED: Ogden approves incentives to upgrade downtown historic buildings

According to a conceptual design document from FFKR Architects, the project would also feature new parking facilities, mid-block pedestrian paths and buildings that would have “vertical elements to provide scale and rhythm that is characteristic of 25th Street.”

The historic Brown building, next to the 2nd District courthouse at 2525 Grant Ave., would be preserved.

Tom Christopulos, Ogden’s director of community and economic development, said the project is still in its infancy, but will cost an estimated $140 million. To get an idea of the scale of the project, Christopulos said Ogden’s Junction development was about $100 million.

Last month, the machinery inside the old Hostess/Wonder Bread factory at 2557 Grant Ave., was auctioned off, clearing the way for the city to tear the building down and make way for the new development. Christopulos said the building should be razed within a year.

RELATED: Vacant Twinkie factory auction draws the curious, others hoping for a good buy

The building has been vacant since late 2012 after Hostess declared bankruptcy and closed plants all over the country. Ogden bought the facility last December for $2.1 million.

The city owns 7 acres of the block and the rest of the land there is owned by the Utah state court system. Christopulos said initial negotiations with the state have already commenced, noting that the court parking system would likely have to be reconfigured.

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The RDA is currently working through a feasibility study on the project, but Christopulos says several developers have already expressed interest. 

The project will likely consist of four phases. It will be refined and eventually must go through the city planning commission and council before its approved. Christopulos said the hope is that the first phase of the project will start within three years.

“We have the concept,” he said. “But as always, the devil will be in the details. This is a complex project.”

The development is likely be one where the developer receive tax incentives to build, said Christopulos, and is part of the city’s vision to make downtown more connective and walkable.

RELATED: Ogden working with UTA to improve bus stops

“We’re starting to get to the point where we have enough amenities that people can live downtown without a car,” he said. “We’ll eventually need a grocery store, but we’re making progress on that vision.”

Christopulos said the development would allow for more parking behind businesses on 25th Street and the city plans to eventually close that historic street to pedestrian traffic only. 

“Although that might not happen in my lifetime,” he joked. “That will take some time.”

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at facebook.com/MitchShaw.StandardExaminer. 

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