Old Ogden River Inn lot

The former site of the old Ogden River Inn, shown here on Washington Boulevard near 18th Street, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

OGDEN — It’s been more than two years since Mountain America Credit Union bought a dilapidated Washington Boulevard motel property with the intent of erecting a new building at the site.

But nearly two weeks into 2021, the site remains conspicuously vacant.

In late 2018, the Ogden City Council approved a rezone of the property in question, which sits at 1825 Washington Blvd. The zoning change allowed for the development and construction of a new MACU building, specifically authorizing the use of a drive-through window and increased parking limits at the site from 15 to 30 stalls. The adopted rezone included a stipulation that made those changes permissible for only a credit union or bank.

The property had long been viewed by Ogden City as an eyesore and an impediment to redevelopment. The site was the longtime home to the Ogden River Inn, but the decrepit old motel was demolished in 2019, a few months after MACU purchased the site. A swimming pool and a cafe were demolished in the area in 2016.

An initial development between MACU and the city, which was formed in 2018, called for the credit union to have finished construction of its facility two years after the agreement was signed. While that deadline has now passed, Shane Sanders, of the Ogden-based Sanders Associates Architects, recently petitioned the city to extend the construction target date.

Last month, Ogden’s Planning Commission reviewed the proposal and subsequently granted the extension. That means MACU now has until October 2022 to get the credit union up and running. According to the development agreement, the city could choose to terminate the rezone needed for construction if MACU does not meet the new construction deadline.

According to city Planning Commission documents, MACU said one of the reasons for the delay in construction was that an existing billboard has taken longer than expected to relocate. Sanders and MACU have been working with the city and the owner of the billboard to relocate it, something the redevelopment pair has told the city will happen soon.

During the December Planning Commission meeting, Sanders said an MACU rebranding has also occurred and the exterior design for the Washington Boulevard site has been changed.

The changes involve some minor alterations in materials that will be used on the building and to its elevation.

Ogden City Deputy Planning Manager Clinton Spencer said the changes in architecture style are consistent with other buildings in the area.

City officials, such as Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper, say the city blocks between 18th and 12th streets (where MACU plans to build) will be a focus for redevelopment.

MACU plans to rebuild its site in a way that “enhances and retains public open space and access along the Ogden River,” according to city council documents.

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