OGDEN -- A group of urban pioneers hope an ambitious project in east-central Ogden will signify the beginning of a new movement in the city.
The Giv Group, an organization that was born three years ago when planner Paige Pitcher and developer Chris Parker began looking for a community with "good bones" to develop, is set to finish the $12 million first phase of a multi-block, mixed-use development project in inner-city Ogden by the beginning of 2014.
The project, which is aptly named "Imagine Jefferson," is located on Jefferson Avenue between 25th and 27th streets, right in the heart of one of Ogden's premier historical districts.
The project's first phase includes three sites, 59 modern residences, retail space, and the adaptive reuse of the historic Weber Academy Gymnasium.
Full completion of the first phase is scheduled for January 2014.
The group says the development will breathe new life into an area that has long been dormant, hoping to help a once vibrant and thriving community regain its vitality and place.
"We hope this is more than just new and renovated buildings," Pitcher said. "We hope it's a community movement."
The renovation of the gym, which had long been known as the Deseret Gym and also functioned as a Gold's Gym, will include 15 single-bedroom units, space for community classes, art space and a coffee shop on the ground floor.
New construction adjacent to the existing gym building will house 35 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with two restaurants. A few blocks south on 27th Street, a new 6-plex will also offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
"The Belle House," a new 3-plex on 26th and Jefferson, will be designated as artist residences.
An open house for the recently completed Belle House will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the home site, 2632 Jefferson Ave.
A traditional prairie-style design, built with salvaged brick and aluminum-clad wooden windows, Pitcher said the Belle House blends well with its century old neighbors on the exterior, but on the inside it's a thoroughly modern structure.
Pitcher said that tank-less water heaters, LED lighting, high-efficiency furnaces, low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets, high-reflectivity roofing, low e-windows, and solar-ready design combined with Ogden's first residential use of structural insulated panels create one of the greenest buildings in the city.
"It represents what we want to accomplish with the entire project," Pitcher said. "We want to respect the historic feel of the area and build on the assets that are already in place, but do it with a modern twist."
Thursday's open house will feature local live music and refreshments and team members from Giv Group will also be available to take suggestions for Imagine Jefferson's second phase, as well as answer any questions about the project. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.