OGDEN — Ogden City is looking to lease and possibly buy space inside a now-vacant building that’s scheduled to get a major, city-incentivized face-lift.
The city administration is asking the council to approve a lease agreement with 455 25th Street, LLC, a local development group that is planning a large-scale renovation and reuse project at the old Ben Lomond Garage, located immediately east of The Courtyard Inn Motel.
The agreement, which includes an option to buy after two years, would allow the city to occupy 15,000 square feet in the garage. Ogden City Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper said the area would house a community-based “makerspace.”
Cooper said the space would be open to the public and provide tools, equipment, knowledge and other resources to a very broadly defined group — essentially anyone who wants to build anything.
The facility would operate much like a gym, but instead of workout equipment, there would be things like manufacturing machines, welding equipment, commercial sewing machines, 3D printers, paint booths and woodworking tools. The idea, Cooper said, is to create an area where like-minded people can work together and collaborate.
The 57,000-square-foot garage building, which has been renamed “The Monarch,” is being rebuilt by area developer Thaine Fischer. The plan calls for a complete renovation of the years-vacant commercial building, which will include space for restaurants, retail and event space, exhibit and collaborative space, and design studios.
Fischer said the building will be fully “gutted” by the end of this year. He expects it will take another 90 days after that to remodel. The building is expected to open sometime in the spring of 2019.
The rehabilitation project is part of the city’s Adams Community Reinvestment Area — a redevelopment district that includes a 150-acre section of Ogden between 23rd and 28th streets from Washington Boulevard to Jefferson Avenue. The area includes both commercial retail and residential buildings and many historic properties.
The city will use tax increment financing to help fund approximately $124 million worth of construction projects associated with the CRA. TIF is a common redevelopment funding mechanism used by the city. Typically, the tax valuation for all taxable properties inside a defined area is frozen and future increases in property tax revenue are used in the redevelopment effort
Potential projects in the Adams CRA include the $14 million Monarch renovation and renovations of the Peery Apartments, the Bigelow Hotel and the old Wells Fargo/First Security Bank building.
The city is proposing up to $1.23 million in TIF for the Monarch project — cash needed to help offset a costly renovation that Cooper says likely wouldn’t happen without some government assistance.
Within the Adams plan exists a smaller auxiliary initiative called the Nine Rails Creative District. The district would function as a centralized hub for arts and culture where artists and other creatives can collaborate.
Cooper said the makerspace, with its emphasis on creation and collaboration, fits perfectly with the desired outcome of the creative district.
Under terms of the lease agreement, the city would be required to make payments of $135,000 in 2018 and 2019. After those two years, the city could purchase the property. As of now, the purchase price is listed at $1.2 million.