OGDEN — It will take about another month to finish the demolition of the old Hostess factory downtown, but Ogden City officials say a potential buyer is already eyeing a piece of the plant that will be salvaged.
Late last year, the council amended the city’s 2018 budget to accelerate the demolition of the Hostess/Wonder Bread building, transferring $75,000 originally meant for an asbestos removal project at the Union Station.
The demolition project started Aug. 2.
City officials say razing the building is the initial step in an up-and-coming, large mixed-use development enterprise at the site, a project that would stretch between Lincoln and Grant avenues — from 26th Street to the alley immediately behind businesses on the south side of 25th Street — and would include space for condos, rental units and office buildings.
Early city estimates show the project could come with a $140 million price tag.
“We’re moving forward with (the demolition), with the idea of saving the historic part of that building,” said Ogden City’s Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development, Brandon Cooper.
The historic Brown building, which sits next to the 2nd District courthouse at 2525 Grant Ave. and is owned by the city’s Redevelopment Agency, will be preserved. The building has also been known as the “ice cream building” and once housed the Hostess outlet.
Cooper said the demolition should be finished in the next three or four weeks. The area will be cleaned and fenced up until redevelopment efforts can begin. For the Brown building in particular, that might be sooner than later.
“We have a(n) (unnamed) buyer who is looking to buy it and convert it into office space on the upper floors and hopefully a restaurant or a cafe on the bottom floor,” Cooper said.
The project would represent phase one of the redevelopment plan for the old factory site and figures to be a centerpiece in the city’s proposed “Continental Community Reinvestment Area,” a redevelopment district that includes portions of six blocks between 25th and 27th streets, from Washington Boulevard to Wall Avenue.
The city administration says the area is in need of major improvement, beyond what can be provided by the private sector. The CRA designation would allow the city to use tax increment financing (which funnels new tax revenue back to projects in the area) to help fund a host of redevelopment items — vacant building removal, the development of new housing units, public infrastructure improvements, the renovation of existing buildings and more.
According to city council documents, the old Wonder Bread/Hostess factory, the Weber County Jail, the Ogden Justice Court and the Salvation Army, Bank of Utah and American Linen buildings are listed as potential redevelopment sites.