Trackline: Ogden will demolish Swift Building, offer incentives to bike company

Monday , August 28, 2017 - 5:15 AM3 comments

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Ogden City hopes demolishing a historic but broken building and providing incentives to an international bicycle parts manufacturer will help advance a major West Ogden development.

Earlier this week, the city council approved two key items related to a multimillion dollar West Ogden redevelopment project called Trackline.

The development includes 122 acres between 24th Street and Middleton Road from the railroad tracks to G Avenue. As one-time home to Ogden’s livestock industry, the area was once a thriving economic center, but has been mostly abandoned since the stock yards closed in the 1970s.

RELATED: Ogden will extend tax break period for West Ogden development

The city plans to transform the area into a mix of commercial, manufacturing and light industrial space, which will include a 51-acre outdoor recreation business park called the Ogden Business Exchange. The park will include a refurbished historic Ogden Exchange building, which was once the administrative home of the stock yards.

On Tuesday, the council approved an incentive agreement with Trackline developer OBE Vision, LLC where the city would give the company $531,412 over a five year period.

The money would be used to provide reduced rent for a new 15,850-square-foot research and development facility that will be built at the site and used by SR56, LLC, a subsidiary of the international bicycle components manufacturer and distributor Selle Royal Company.

According to council documents, funding will come from Business Depot Ogden lease revenues.

The council also authorized the city’s purchase of the Swift Building at 390 W. Exchange Road. The large warehouse sits just east of the stockyards was once home to the defunct Swift meat packing plant. The building has most recently been used by Smith & Edwards as storage facility.

RELATED: Project bringing new life to Ogden Exchange Building beginning to take shape

With its large red “Swift” sign and its prominent location near the 24th Street bridge, the building has been somewhat of an icon in Ogden. 

But Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s deputy director of Community and Economic Development, said the building is in such disrepair, it can’t be salvaged.

When Smith & Edwards bought the building, it had already been dilapidated and vacant for several years. Its condition has grown worse over time.

Cooper said with its place along the 24th Street Corridor — the main entrance into the city’s downtown area — the building offers a poor image of the city and is a burden to the West Ogden neighborhood. 

“The goal here is to remove it and allow for future, more desirable development,” Cooper said. “It’s no secret that building has tremendous historic value, but even though it’s historically significant, it’s an eyesore and it’s an eyesore right at the front door of the city. And that’s a major reason why it needs to go away.”

RELATED: Ogden City to buy, demolish problem motel located behind Ben Lomond Hotel

The transaction closed Thursday and the city paid $400,000 for the building, but Cooper says extensive environmental remediation needs to take place before the structure is demolished. Right now, the CED office estimates environmental work associated with the building will cost more than $2 million.

Cooper said bids to raze the building will be sought in the winter and he hopes demolition will begin by spring of 2018. Removing the building will allow the city to expand the banks of Weber River, offering recreation opportunities like fishing, new trails and a newly constructed kayak park.

The city could also expand its downtown into the area after the structure is razed.

“It’s the first step in really creating a new life for the Weber River,” Cooper said.

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the two Trackline actions, along with another council action that authorized the purchase and demolition of the Courtyard Inn Motel on 25th Street, will be catalysts for future development and improvements in high-profile areas of the city.

“I think these are going to be big, big opportunities,” he said. 

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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