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Parkway Plaza plans, entailing demolition of Pioneer Days building, inch forward

By Tim Vandenack - | Nov 30, 2023
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The building housing Pioneer Days administrative offices off Washington Boulevard near River Drive is to make way for a proposed cafe and plaza, as shown on the right side of the rendering. The cafe and plaza plans are an element of a two-building apartment complex to be built just to the north.
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The building housing Pioneer Days administrative offices off Washington Boulevard near River Drive, pictured Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, is to make way for a proposed cafe and plaza. The cafe and plaza plans are an element of a two-building apartment complex to be built just to the north.
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The building housing Pioneer Days administrative offices off Washington Boulevard near River Drive, pictured Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, is to make way for a proposed cafe and plaza. The cafe and plaza plans are an element of a two-building apartment complex to be built just to the north.

OGDEN — The complex process of redeveloping the site where Pioneer Days operations are housed into a cafe and plaza at the south end of a planned apartment development off Washington Boulevard south of 17th Street inches ahead.

Parallel to that, plans to develop a new Pioneer Days headquarters building are moving forward in conjunction with the looming redevelopment of Pioneer Stadium a few blocks to the east. Significantly, the south stadium seating is to be replaced, and Alan Hall, chairperson of the Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation, said a new building housing Pioneer Days administrative offices is to be built on the west side of the stadium area.

“Part of our renovation will be to have a permanent office onsite,” Hall said.

But first, more on the Parkway Plaza development proposal. That’s the two-building, 115-unit apartment project to take shape on the east side of Washington Boulevard from 17th Street south to the site of the current Pioneer Days building at 1810 Washington Blvd. and the Ogden River.

Ogden City officials this week approved some of the land transfer and other agreements needed for the cafe and plaza plans at the south end of the project area to proceed, part of what was city-owned land. More action, though, is in the offing — sale or transfer to the developer of a pair of small parcels owned by the Utah Department of Transportation in the project area.

UDOT officials seem to be on board with the plans, said Johanna Droubay, developing the Parkway project with brother Paul Droubay. “We’ve been working with them for about a year,” she said, but jumping through all the required hoops is “just a slow process.”

The small Pioneer Days building — just north of the Ogden River near the Ogden arch over Washington Boulevard — is to be razed as part of the plans. In its place, a 3,900-square foot commercial space to house a cafe and/or restaurant would be developed, along with a plaza just to the north in the area of River Drive, which is to be vacated.

The cafe and its parking area to the south would abut the Ogden River Parkway, the trail along the north side of the Ogden River, catering to trail users, those living in the proposed new apartments and others.

“For us, it’s pretty key. It makes this development unique and exciting and will have a community-oriented feel,” Johanna Droubay said. Just to the west across Washington Boulevard, another housing project is taking shape, a 41-townhome development overseen by Lotus Co.

The city-owned site where the Pioneer Days building sits was to be sold to the Parkway developers for $250,000, according to Glenn Symes, senior policy analyst in the Ogden City Council office. As part of other plan elements approved Tuesday, the developers are to receive a $370,000 incentive from the city in the form of tax-increment funds and, at no cost, three city-owned parcels measuring about half an acre in all.

The two UDOT properties, one of the final pieces of the puzzle, are to acquired by the Ogden Redevelopment Agency, a city development entity, “and transferred in a separate action once those acquisitions are completed,” read city documents. Terms of any deal have yet to be finalized, Symes said.

The developers already own the 2.6 acres north of the cafe and plaza site, where the two five-story apartment structures are to take shape. Droubay foresees one-bedroom, two-bedroom and studio apartments rented at market-rate units. The developers are pursuing financing for the project and she expects work to begin in a little more than a year, in early 2025.

The Ogden City Council approved the needed rezone for the project property last September.

‘A NEW LEVEL’

Meantime, Hall, the Pioneer Days chairperson, said the renovations to Pioneer Stadium, including construction of the new administration building, are to be completed in time for the start of the Pioneer Days Rodeo next July. Boosters have raised the $4 million need for the overall upgrade, which also includes creation of a new entry on the west side of the stadium, among other things.

All told, the seating upgrades will add 1,600 seats, Hall said. The City of Ogden will install new plumbing and other infrastructure in conjunction with the plans.

The stadium upgrade will be a swan song of sorts for Hall’s longtime involvement in Pioneer Days. He said he’ll be stepping down as chairperson after the coming installment of the rodeo and handing the reins to Stephen Handy, an Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation trustee and former state representative.

“There comes a time when we need to have fresh eyes and energy to take it to a new level,” Hall said.

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