Fred Meyer lot

The site of the old Fred Meyer department store on 12th Street in Ogden is shown on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. The store was razed in October 2016, in preparation for a new hospital to be built on the lot, but there's been no construction since the old building was torn down.

OGDEN — Ogden City officials say there still aren’t any solid redevelopment plans for the old Fred Meyer lot on 12th Street, but the city’s eyes are still set on restoring the long-vacant commercial property.

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the city is still engaging with the property owner there, a group that Caldwell said has continually expressed interest in some kind of redevelopment of the site.

In 2016, the Ogden City Council approved a $100,000 forgivable loan to IASIS Healthcare, a Tennessee-based for-profit operator of small-scale, acute care hospitals.

The money was to be put towards the cost of demolishing the 150,000-square-foot former Fred Meyer building between Wall and Childs avenues on 12th Street. IASIS had planned to build a small hospital facility at the site.

The blighted building was razed in October 2016, but about a year after the terms were settled, IASIS was bought-out by Boston-based Steward Health Care. Also a for-profit health care company, Steward acquired all of IASIS’s assets in the buyout, including the Fred Meyer property.

The city’s original demolition contract with IASIS was still valid, but because construction deadlines for a new hospital were missed, Steward ate the cost of demolition and the money for the city loan was never transferred. Today, the lot still sits empty.

Caldwell said discussions with Steward are still ongoing, but nothing solid has emerged. At this point, even though Steward is a health care company, a hospital seems unlikely.

“We’re looking at any number of options,” the mayor said. “It’s a high traffic area and a big priority for us as a city. We want to see the highest and best use of that property.”

Fred Meyer moved out of the building in the early 2000s and the lot has remained a problem for the city since then.

Ownership changed hands several times after the company left, but the building was never occupied for long, continuing to decay as years went by. The city said the property had become a safety hazard and public nuisance, a visible blight along one of the city’s busiest roads.

Mitch Shaw is the governmnet for the Standard-Examiner. Contact him at mishaw@standard.net.

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