OGDEN — Details have been released on a developer incentive package associated with the first project in a sweeping east-central Ogden redevelopment plan.
The Ogden City administration will soon ask the City Council to approve a deal that will provide a developer up to $1.23 million to rehabilitate the old Ben Lomond Garage. The 90-year-old commercial building sits at 455 25th St., a prime location just east of The Bigelow Hotel.
Ogden-based developer Thaine Fischer purchased the 57,000-square-foot building, which has been renamed “The Monarch.” Fischer’s plan is for a complete renovation — one that will include new space for restaurants, retail and event space, exhibit and collaborative space, and design studios.
The project is a key component in two different city initiatives — the Adams Community Reinvestment Area plan and a smaller proposal within it called the Nine Rails Creative District.
The Adams Community Reinvestment Area involves a 150-acre section of Ogden between 23rd and 28th streets from Washington Boulevard to Jefferson Avenue — an area that includes commercial retail and residential buildings, with a significant number of historic properties.
City officials say revitalizing the area will spur economic growth, bring jobs and connect the downtown central business district with neighborhoods to the east.
The plan includes approximately $124 million worth of potential construction projects, including the estimated $14 million Monarch renovation. Other projects include renovating the Peery Apartments, the Bigelow Hotel and the old Wells Fargo/First Security Bank building.
The Nine Rails district would create a centralized hub for arts and culture where artists and other creatives can live and work and where visitors can explore.
From the city’s perspective, rebuilding The Monarch — which has been vacant for more than a decade — sets the tone for both measures and could produce a domino effect of additional investment.
As part of the incentive agreement, the city would provide Fischer all of the new tax revenues generated by the project over a 25-year period.
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The practice, known as “Tax Increment Financing,” gives new tax revenue back to developers as an incentive to build. It can also be used for things like street and utility improvements, hazardous waste removal, property acquisition and the demolition of blighted buildings.
In the proposed agreement with Fischer, the city would cut a check annually for 25 years beginning in 2021. The money would essentially reimburse Fischer for development expenses and cannot exceed $1.23 million.
“It’s very expensive building,” said Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s deputy director of Community and Economic Development. “The structural upgrades alone kind of put the project outside the economic feasibility scale.”
Fischer, who has purchased and renovated several old, historic and often vacant buildings in Ogden, said he’s never before utilized city TIF dollars. He said for The Monarch, he also plans to go after federal tax credits available for historic renovations and investment in distressed communities.
To qualify for the city’s incentive, Fischer must “substantially complete” the project no later than March 31, 2019.