Ogden City hopes new downtown apartments will help push neighborhood’s economy

Thursday , October 19, 2017 - 5:45 AM4 comments

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Construction has been completed on a set of city-incentivized apartments that local officials hope will bolster the downtown area’s economy. 

Tower View apartments are located on the northeast corner of 23rd Street and Washington Boulevard, directly across the street from the Junction and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple. The location of the $16 million project was once a commercial hot spot in Ogden, but has for years held nothing but a dilapidated parking lot. 

“We used to buy sporting goods equipment at this site,” said Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson, referring to the old Wolfe’s sporting goods store that stood at the site for years. “What a great corner this used to be — and it is again today.”

The project is part of Ogden’s East Washington redevelopment area, a measure designed to stimulate reinvestment between 20th and 24th streets from Washington Boulevard to Adams Avenue.

Nearly fours years ago, as part of the redevelopment plan, the Ogden City Council approved an agreement with developer International Development Group to build to the complex. As part of the agreement, IDG will collect 100 percent of the tax increment generated by the new building, which is estimated to be $1 million.

Tax increment financing diverts future increases in property tax revenue so the money can be reinvested back into the development. 

“Ogden City has invested a lot in the project to make sure it was successful,” said Jared Nielsen, vice president of Tower View builder Highmark Construction. 

Johnson said the city’s backing is part of an effort to increase the permanent resident population in the downtown area. He said having people living downtown deters crime, and builds up other commercial ventures like restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses.

Chuck Leonhardt, president of the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce, and Ogden Council member Marcia White echoed Johnson’s words, both saying downtown residency is necessary to a successful urban core.

“We need to find ways to increase the population density, but not ruin the charm (of downtown),” White said. “That’s exactly what this building has done.”

Though construction just wrapped up, IDG Vice President David Kocherhans said tenants started moving into the 144-unit complex in June. The complex is now 75 percent occupied, Kocherhans said.

Construction on the project took just under two years, but included several hurdles along the way. 

Ogden Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper said there were “site development” challenges during construction, mostly related to relocating utilities. There was also a water issue related to the complex’s underground parking garage.

“In any redevelopment area you find things ... that you have to work through,” Nielson said.

A major redesign, which added capacity and new amenities to the complex, was completed mid-construction, Nielson said. Because of Ogden’s involvement, the redesign had to go through a full city approval process, starting with the planning commission and going up through the city council. 

“It took a little while to get here,” Johnson said. “But ultimately, I think it’s the right thing, the right time and the right place.”

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.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.