City fine-tuning Ogden River Project details

Dec 21 2009 - 10:21am

OGDEN -- A pending development agreement for the long-awaited Ogden River Project is being fine-tuned to explore the use of a tax increment financing component, according to Mayor Matthew Godfrey.

Godfrey remains optimistic an agreement with an out-of-state developer, whom he declined to identify, will be finalized soon, adding that details are being handled by the city's Community and Economic Development Department.

"It's tough to plan a project that's so big and so far in the future," he said.

The developer was chosen over at least two other individuals who also expressed interest in undertaking the Ogden River Project.

The developer has worked in Utah and has the financial ability to start next year on the first phase of the project that encompasses about 30 acres from Lincoln to Grant avenues between 18th and 20th streets, Godfrey said.

Godfrey's administration will review the developer's proposal and then submit it to the city council for approval.

Discussions between the administration and the developer currently center on how tax increment financing may be used to assist the river project, said Godfrey.

"We are looking at different options," he said. "We are getting very close (to reaching a development agreement)."

Tax increment financing is the extra property tax revenue generated by new development in a blighted area.

The river project has been on the drawing board since 2002 and was originally slated to include about 600 units, including condominiums and townhomes, as well as single-family dwellings. However, the new agreement may add a few more units to the project area, Tom Christopulos, the city's business development manager, has said.

About 60 percent of the property in the project area is owned by Ogden Riverfront Development, a company with ties to businessman Gadi Leshem, while the remaining parcels belong to the city and other individuals, according to Christopulos.

It hasn't been determined how the developer will work with Ogden Riverfront Development in acquiring properties within the river project boundaries, he has said.

Leshem couldn't be reached for comment.

Related link: This article is a topic of discussion at Weber County Forum.

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