OGDEN — Ogden’s administration is seeking to establish a new tax-incentivized redevelopment district in the heart of the city’s east-central neighborhood.
The potential venture includes a portion of a similar, somewhat controversial district that was proposed but ultimately abandoned by the city three years ago.
The Ogden City Council recently approved a resolution that designates a survey area for the one-block piece of land between Monroe and Quincy avenues from 24th Street to 25th Street.
Designating the survey area is the first step in creating a Community Reinvestment Area on the block, called the Gramercy CRA. If a CRA were to be established, the tax valuation for all properties inside the block would be diverted for a to-be-determined amount of time (or up to a certain dollar threshold) while future property tax increases are funneled back into redevelopment projects there.
Known as Tax Increment Financing, the tool is often used by Ogden City as an incentive for developers to build.
Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development, said the city has already purchased about seven of the 10 acres located on the survey block over past several years. There are currently 19 parcels on the block, providing $2.8 million in tax valuation.
“We believe with some assistance from the (redevelopment agency), there could be significant investment to the area that could juice up that taxable valuation to close to $50 million and more importantly provide some needed services and potentially some residential units for that neighborhood.”
Aside from those generalities, Cooper didn’t offer any other insight on exactly what development could occur at the site if a CRA is eventually approved by the city council. Details about the duration of the TIF collection period and the participation levels of taxing entities like Weber County and the Ogden School District haven’t been determined yet either.
Cooper said the area that will be surveyed has grown stagnant over the past number of years, with many traditional commercial operations falling by the wayside.
“It has had a legacy role for a commercial center for this neighborhood,” he said. “If you look at (the neighborhood) as a whole, it really is central to that area and historically has provided commercial services. Now we have an old commercial area that’s no longer operating and is vacant and it’s such a large area of that block.”
In the coming weeks, Cooper said his department will work through an analysis of the area and begin discussions with the county and the school district, seeking a potential adoption of the CRA plan sometime in the spring.
In late 2015, the city started the process to establish a redevelopment district called the Oak Den Urban Renewal Area, which included the 10 acres being reviewed now. That would-be district featured a nine-block section of east-central Ogden that included 413 properties on 84 acres, stretching from 23rd to 26th streets between Madison and Jackson avenues.
The initiative was abandoned in 2016 after residents in the Oak Den area aligned with Virginia-based public interest law firm, Institute for Justice, to fight a stipulation in the measure that allowed for the use of eminent domain.
Cooper said the Gramercy district, which is much smaller than the Oak Den proposal, does not include eminent domain.
At a recent city RDA meeting, Ogden Council Vice Chair Angela Choberka asked Cooper about boots on the ground public outreach efforts for the Gramercy project.
Cooper said the city met with most of the residents and businesses in the proposed Gramercy District during the 2016 Oak Den proceedings.
“We’ve had individual contact with ... property owners on that block, so we felt like we understand what their needs are, what their concerns are, and they understand what our intentions are.”
As the new plan moves forward, additional noticing will go out and residents and business owners will have the opportunity to provide input on the plan, Cooper said.