Clock ticking for company to build hospital at former Fred Meyer site in Ogden

Wednesday , August 30, 2017 - 4:15 AM1 comment

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Ogden City expects a new health care facility to revitalize a long-vacant commercial section of town, and the clock is ticking for the company tasked to build it. 

Last fall, demolition crews hauled away the last pieces of a vacant 12th Street building that was once home to a Fred Meyer department store.

Ever since the retail giant left the space in the early 2000s, the site has been a thorn in the city’s side as years of neglect accelerated the decline of the 150,000-square-foot building.

The property, which sits at approximately 200 E. 12th St., changed hands multiple times after the closure, with no new development ever materializing and blight around the structure growing worse by the year.

But last year, the city’s Community and Economic Development Office devised a plan to bring new life to the area — giving building owners a $100,000 loan that would be used to cover a portion of the demolition and pave the way for new construction to begin.

That construction involves a new hospital, which will be built by Seaboard Development LLC, the development arm of IASIS Healthcare. The Tennessee-based healthcare chain is a for-profit operator of smaller-scale, acute care hospitals in growing urban and suburban markets.

The Ogden City Council approved the loan last year, and the building was demolished in October, but no other visible construction activities have taken place since then.

During a council work session last week, council member Neil Garner asked Mayor Mike Caldwell for a status update on the development, saying constituents have wondered why there’s been so little movement since the old building was razed nearly a year ago. 

Caldwell said national uncertainty regarding health care has impeded progress.

Since President Donald Trump took office, there’s been a seesawing debate in Congress about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“We’ve found that companies in that space want to have a little better sense of where things are going before they start pumping millions of dollars into a project,” the mayor said. 

Though the industry is uncertain, Caldwell said the development is still moving forward and contractual deadlines require IASIS to get started soon.

According to City Council documents, when the loan deal was struck, terms required that IASIS have a new structure built on the site by Nov. 30, 2018. If those terms aren’t met, the city loan must be paid back with 5 percent accrued interest within 30 days.

The interest rate goes up to 15 percent if the 30-day deadline isn’t met.

“They have until the end of 2018 (to build the hospital),” Caldwell said. “And if not, they’re writing that check.”

Phone calls to the IASIS media relations department seeking construction timeline details were not returned Tuesday.

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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