OGDEN — Ogden City has reached a deal to sell the Swift property to a California company that plans to build an aerospace manufacturing operation on the reclaimed hazardous waste site next to the Weber River.
The proposed $1.7 million sale is subject to approval by the Ogden City Council, which will discuss the plan at 4 p.m. Wednesday in its role as the city’s redevelopment agency.
If approved, the sale will help to dispel a major environmental and fiscal headache caused by decades of accumulated toxic chemical storage in the defunct meatpacking plant.
With the planned 120,000-square-foot aerospace plant, it also will augment the city’s Trackline development, which is transforming a blighted area west of the railroad tracks along Exchange Road near 24th Street in west Ogden.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in March began cleaning up the two-building Swift complex, finding thousands of containers of solvents, acid, benzene, antifreeze, propane, hydraulic fluid and other chemicals, plus items such as 3,000 pounds of explosive materials.
The city bought the dilapidated warehouse a few years ago from Utah-Smith, an entity connected to Bert Smith, late founder of the Smith and Edwards Co. military surplus store, so it could have the site cleaned up and the building demolished.
As of Monday, the EPA reported on its project website that it had processed 98,275 containers on the Swift site.
The cleanup should be complete by the end of November, said Brandon Cooper, the city’s deputy director of Community and Economic Development.
City documents identify the buyer of the 6.84-acre tract as Atwater Infrastructure Partners of Pasadena, California, representing an unspecified manufacturer. Cooper said that company wants to move its operations to Northern Utah to be close to aerospace and defense customers and suppliers, including Hill Air Force Base.
He said the company expects to add 100 to 150 jobs with the project. A request for comment from Atwater was not answered.
City documents said the company specializes in the manufacture of lightweight metallic structures used in aerospace and military operations.
Meanwhile, documents related to the property sale show that an additional $2 million in expenses from the cleanup and development project have been identified.
First, the original budget included $500,000 for demolition of the buildings, but the subsequent low bid came in at $1.55 million.
“When we set the budget we had a demolition contractor just give us a budget number from the road,” Cooper said.
Once bidders got a chaperoned tour of the site from the EPA, the estimates were refined, Cooper said.
“We will be working with that low-bid contractor to help us reduce that price,” he said.
The $1.55 million also includes the cost of regrading the river bank next to the property.
City planners also found that about $1 million in road upgrades around the site will be necessary, according to planning documents.
Cleanup costs still are estimated at $1.7 million, Cooper said.
The EPA is covering that expense for now, but it’s still to be determined whether other entities will be required to share in the cost.
Including the $400,000 original purchase, the cleanup costs, the additional demolition expense and the roads item, the overall project cost now tops an estimated $4.6 million.
Thursday’s meeting will be the city council’s first look at the proposed property sale, said Janene Eller-Smith, council executive director.
The project proposal said the Swift site may be ready for new construction by March 1, 2020.