OGDEN -- Sequestered in a large conference room on the seventh floor of the Municipal Building, six architects and designers with Urban Design Associates huddled around computers Wednesday, busily developing a detailed master plan for the long-awaited Ogden River Project.
UDA was chosen over 10 other firms to complete the master plan for the Ogden River Project area, which encompasses about 60 acres straddling the river from 18th to 20th streets and Washington Boulevard to Wall Avenue, said Jonny Ballard, the city's community development manager.
The Pittsburgh-based company is being paid $50,000 for its work.
The project has been on the drawing board since 2002.
UDA has worked on the Daybreak housing development in South Jordan, as well as projects in Norfolk, Va.; St. Petersburg, Russia; and other locations around the world.
Since they arrived in Ogden, UDA staffers have met with local landowners, business owners and government leaders to determine their vision for the Ogden River Project, said Eric R. Osth, a principal architect with UDA.
Several common themes have emerged from those discussions, Osth said.
Most of the individuals indicated they want the project to enhance the city's unique character, complement the outdoor-recreational aspects of the Ogden River and help shape downtown revitalization, he said.
The purpose of the master plan is to identify various building types, architecture, open space locations and construction phasing for the project.
Lee Homes, based in Marina del Rey, Calif., submitted a master plan proposal for the project last year. However, the plan was never formally approved by the Ogden RDA board, made up of the city council, Ballard said.
Jeff Lee, president of Lee Homes, could not be reached for comment Wednesday regarding the status of his company's proposal.
The master plan being developed by UDA will provide a valuable blueprint for both the Ogden River Project and future revitalization downtown, Ballard said.
"It's another economic tool to get development to come to town."
The Ogden River Project may eventually have a variety of businesses and as many as 800 housing units, including single-family dwellings, apartments and townhomes, Ballard said.
About 50 parcels in the project area encompassing 10 acres are owned by Ogden Riverfront Development, a firm affiliated with developer Gadi Leshem. Leshem could not be reached for comment regarding development of the master plan.
The RDA owns about 18 acres; the remaining land in the project area belongs to existing businesses.
Among the RDA's holdings is a vacant 8-acre parcel at the corner of 20th Street and Washington Boulevard.
South River LLC, a Salt Lake City-area company, has a contract with the RDA to buy 6 acres of the parcel for the possible construction of a condominium complex and small retail businesses, Ballard said.
Construction on that part of the Ogden River Project may begin this summer and finish next year, he said.
South River officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday regarding possible plans for the property.
To learn more
The work of Urban Design Associates on the Ogden River Project will be unveiled at a public open house from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today in the Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd., Suite 710.
This topic is being discussed at The Weber County Forum.