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Ogden building taking shape on Historic 25th Street deemed ‘dangerous’

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 27, 2023
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The Suma Terra Ventures apartment building taking shape at 144 25th St. in Ogden, photographed Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.
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The Summa Terra Ventures apartment building taking shape at 407 W. 12th St. in Ogden, photographed Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023.
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The Summa Terra Ventures apartment building taking shape at 144 25th St. in Ogden, photographed Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.

OGDEN — Ogden officials have taken things a step further with developers building the five-story apartment building on Historic 25th Street, issuing a notice that the unfinished wooden structure has been deemed “dangerous.”

The city issued a “stop work order” nearly six months ago on March 29 bringing work to a halt stemming from the use of wood in the building that isn’t sufficiently fireproof. The building sits at 144 25th St. between Lincoln and Wall avenues in the heart of Ogden’s Historic 25th Street commercial zone, towering over the other buildings beside it.

The developer didn’t respond to a Standard-Examiner query on Wednesday seeking comment on the latest developments. But the project was the focus of discussion at the tail end of Tuesday’s Ogden City Council meeting, when Chief Administrative Officer Mara Brown provided council members with an update on the project.

“We’ve had some concern from the public. The administration (of Mayor Mike Caldwell) shares those concerns very much,” Brown said. Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s community and economic development director, told the Standard-Examiner last month that the structure is a potential fire hazard in its current state.

The developer, Summa Terra Ventures, is to provide an update to city officials on Friday about its plans to address the issues with the wood in the structure, according to Brown. The building, featuring a largely wooden shell and framing as it awaits completion, is fenced off for now.

Meantime, she also said that the city “served a notice and order today for a dangerous building.” Such a notice, according to language in city code, means a city building official “has determined the building to be dangerous.”

While city officials last month told the Standard-Examiner that the order to stop work stemmed from the use of wood that wasn’t properly fire rated, Brown didn’t offer specifics on the “dangerous building” determination. The Standard-Examiner has filed a public information request for a copy of the determination.

But according to the language of the applicable city code, the determination means city building officials can complete the needed work to address problem situations if the owner doesn’t within a prescribed timeline and bill the property owner for the work.

“It’s a tool that we have to utilize to hopefully continue to work with the developer and get a resolution that’s in the best interests of the city,” Brown said.

Reps of Summa Terra Ventures last month submitted the initial proposal to address the issues with the fireproofing of wood at the site. Cooper told the Standard-Examiner last week that the proposed fix involved use of a “spray-on fire retardant,” among other things.

He didn’t elaborate but said the city is awaiting additional tweaks to the plan, apparently due Friday, per Brown’s remarks to the City Council.

“We have not fully accepted their solution. There are still minor corrections to be made. The ball is in their court,” Cooper told the Standard-Examiner in the message last week. Once the sides agree on a plan, he went on, he expects Summa Terra Ventures to “diligently pursue the completion of the building without further delay.”

Cooper didn’t offer a specific timeline to address the situation, nor did Brown when addressing the City Council. Neither official immediately responded Wednesday to additional Standard-Examiner queries on the matter. “There are a number of steps that have to be taken, so I don’t have a direct timeline,” Brown said Tuesday.

Councilperson Ben Nadolski expressed concern about unspecified safety issues as the building sits vacant and Brown said city reps will be monitoring the structure.

“We’ll be keeping an eye on that, the safety of the building, and making sure that the fire marshal is out there inspecting, and our building and our code enforcement is out there inspecting as well,” she said.

Cooper said city officials have had “similar issues” at other Summa Terra Ventures projects, “especially the 12th Street project.” Similarly, Brown, when discussing the 144 25th St. project, said the developer recently had a different stop-work order removed on a project on 12th Street.

Summa Terra Ventures is behind the development of an apartment building, incomplete and still taking shape, at 407 W. 12th St. The Standard-Examiner has also filed a request for city records related to the issues, now apparently resolved, with that development.

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