OGDEN — Officials from Ogden City’s Redevelopment Agency say 2019 was a year of demolition, but the destruction will pave the way for growth in 2020.
Earlier this week, Ogden Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper updated the Ogden City Council on the RDA’s progress last year and apprised them about what’s in store for this year.
Cooper told the council the city currently manages 18 redevelopment districts — 10 of which were established before 2000. By 2026, the all districts stood up before then will expire.
“Out of the 18, we have a lot of old districts,” Cooper said. “And we’re seeing them expire.”
Which means the city, Weber County and the Ogden School District will soon see a revenue stream that had previously been plugged.
Ogden’s redevelopment districts work by freezing the tax valuation for all taxable properties inside a specific area of land that the city has tabbed for reinvestment. For a certain amount of time or up to a certain dollar amount, future increases in property tax revenue are used in the redevelopment effort, an oft-used development incentive called Tax Increment Financing.
The TIF money is typically offered to developers as a motivation to build, and it can be used for things like street and utility improvements, hazardous waste removal, property acquisition and the demolition of blighted buildings.
In Ogden, RDAs usually collect the tax increases from the city, the county and the school district.
Ideally, when the duration or dollar thresholds are met, new development in an RDA has increased tax valuations in the area and the governmental agencies see a new stream of cash that may not have otherwise been there.
In 2019, Cooper said the redevelopment agency tore down four vacant eyesores in the city: The Ogden River Inn at 1825 Washington Blvd., the Millstream Motel in near 15th Street and Washington, the Courtyard Inn behind the Hotel Bigelow on 25th Street and Washington, and the old Hostess Factory on 26th Street, just west of Washington.
“Our strategy is a two-pronged approach,” Cooper said. “Remove impediments and leverage bright spots. In these cases, demolition was necessary because these buildings presented an impediment to growth.”
The old Hostess site is part of the city’s Continental Community Reinvestment Area. Located inside a six-block area between Wall Avenue and Washington Boulevard and 25th and 27th streets, the Continental CRA will use TIF money to help fund a host of redevelopment projects including the development of new housing units, public infrastructure improvements and the renovation of existing buildings.
Key projects associated with the CRA include the construction of single-family and multi-family units, consolidation of parking and the redevelopment of portions of the municipal block.
The site of the former Ogden River Inn will eventually be home to a new Mountain America Credit Union branch and a local developer wants to build a mixed-use complex with a restaurant and 100 townhomes at the Millstream site.
Once attached to the east side of the historic Hotel Bigelow, the Courtyard Inn is in the heart of Ogden’s Nine Rails Creative District and Adams Community Reinvestment Area, which involves a 150-acre section of Ogden between 23rd and 28th streets from Washington Boulevard to Jefferson Avenue. There’s about $124 million in potential construction projects associated with the CRA, which includes the renovation of the Peery Apartments and the Bigelow Hotel, new housing and the restoration of the old Wells Fargo/First Security Bank building.
Cooper said another impending demolition project at the city’s Trackline Economic Development Area will also clear the way for new development.
The Swift building is scheduled to be razed soon, Cooper said, which will allow Atwater Infrastructure Partners to build a 125,000-square-foot aerospace manufacturing facility at the site.
Trackline includes 122 acres between 24th Street and Middleton Road from the railroad tracks to G Avenue and the development includes a mix of commercial, manufacturing and light industrial space, including a 51-acre outdoor recreation business park called the Ogden Business Exchange. Cooper said Enable Industries and Ogden’s Own Distillery will both complete construction on facilities at the developing business park this year.