OGDEN — To say the Boyer Business Depot Ogden is ahead of schedule is probably a pretty significant understatement.
More than 20 years ago, Ogden City began the monumental effort to turn what was then a vacant military installation into what officials hoped would be the area’s biggest business park.
Defense Depot Ogden closed in 1997 after a Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure round. After the closure, the federal government deeded Ogden all of the land and facilities associated with the site for free. The city quickly entered into a public-private partnership with Salt Lake City-based real estate developer the Boyer Company.
The agreement included a $12 million bond, which funded initial infrastructure improvements, and the creation of the DDO Redevelopment Area, which froze the facility’s tax valuation and put the revenue generated from property tax increases back into the development. The subsidy tool, known as Tax Increment Financing, is often used to give developers an incentive to build in areas that are often seen as undesirable. The financing model is meant to push development projects along by paying for things like street and utility improvements, hazardous waste removal, property acquisition and the demolition of blighted buildings.
Since the initial deal was made, the bond has been paid off and the tax mechanism expired last year, but officials expect construction to continue at the BDO for at least another decade.
According to a letter from Ogden Director of Community and Economic Development Tom Christopulos, the total acreage developed since the establishing RDA is just over 359 acres. Christopulos said the original goal for the end of 2019 was for 143 acres to be developed, which means the park is essentially 30 years ahead of schedule. The original Master Lease agreement stipulated 242.5 acres be developed by Dec. 31, 2034.
Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson said with the TIF method expiring last year, it gets an additional $1.2 to $1.5 million in tax revenue — significant Johnson says, because before the city took over the depot land, it was all tax-exempt. Weber County receives about the same amount of money per year Johnson said, and the Ogden School District gets about $3 million per year. And the city still collects lease revenue from tenants at the BDO. After expenses, Ogden and the Boyer group split BDO lease revenue 50-50, Johnson said.
“Obviously, it’s worked really well for the entire community,” Johnson said.
According to an annual report from Boyer submitted to the city, the BDO has a 93% occupancy rate in existing buildings and 99% occupancy in new buildings.
“This is significant in that we continue to raise rents, yet have managed to maintain a high occupancy rate by backfilling spaces,” the report reads.
Christopulos said the facility currently has 6,402 total employees. New tenants include Red Bull and Oatly. The BDO has been working closely with local brokerage firms to market to Davis, Weber and Salt Lake counties, and are working with the Economic Development Corporation of Utah to recruit tenants from outside the state. Construction of the new buildings, totaling nearly 250,000 square feet, is set to begin this spring.