Wonder block

This vacant piece of land west of Ogden's Municipal building, shown on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, is set to be redeveloped, with construction beginning next year on a project that will eventually include nearly 300 residential units on top of what could be as much as 63,000 square feet of retail space. Office space and a boutique hotel with about 100 rooms will also be part of the project, along with a new 754-stall parking structure.

OGDEN — With the recent approval of a land transfer and development agreement, construction on a multimillion-dollar transformation of Ogden’s downtown is set to begin next year.

On Tuesday night, the Ogden City Council, acting as Ogden’s Redevelopment Agency board, signed off on a measure that involves the city transferring a piece of land at 26th Street between Grant and Lincoln avenues to JF Capital. As part of the agreement, the Centerville-based development firm will reconstruct the now vacant property into a mixed-used site consisting of hospitality, commercial, retail, office and multi-family housing.

Ogden’s Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper said the development site, which was once home to the large Hostess and Wonder Bread factory, is to eventually include nearly 300 residential units on top of what could be as much as 63,000 square feet of retail space. Office space and a boutique hotel with about 100 rooms will also be part of the project, along with a new 754-stall parking structure.

According to City Council documents, JF Capital must complete construction of all phases of the project on or before Dec. 31, 2026. The deadline could be extended to December 31, 2028, upon certain conditions. The company says construction will start sometime next year.

JF Capital representative Robert Taylor said the company is excited for the project to “become a reality and not just a planning document that sits on the shelf.”

Taylor described the endeavor as an “extension of 25th Street” that will be a “valuable asset to the community which we all can share in.”

The project is part of the city’s larger Continental Community Reinvestment Area. Located inside a six-block area between Wall Avenue and Washington Boulevard and 25th and 27th streets, the Continental CRA will use tax increment financing to help fund a host of redevelopment projects. TIF works by freezing the tax valuation for all taxable properties inside a specific area of land that the city has tabbed for reinvestment. For a certain amount of time or up to a certain dollar amount, future increases in property tax revenue are used in the redevelopment effort, an oft-used development incentive.

Other potential redevelopment sites include the Weber County Jail, the Ogden Justice Court and the Salvation Army, Bank of Utah and American Linen buildings. Project expenditures for the CRA could total as much as $236.2 million.

Other portions of the development agreement for the first phase of construction will be approved by the council at future date. Those include replacing parking for the nearby 2nd District state courthouse that will be lost as part of the project, finalizing the tax increment incentive agreement, a master lease agreement with JF Capital and approval of the parking structure, which is valued at about $24 million.

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the city has been working for more than four years to make the project become a reality. The city purchased the Wonder Bread site in December 2016, shortly after the facility closed. The buildings associated with the factory were demolished in 2018.

“This has been a multiyear project,” Caldwell said. “This is a big event.”

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