OGDEN — Ogden City has agreed to sell a 98-year-old historic building that sits inside the heart of six-block, tax-incentivized redevelopment site.
Last week, the Ogden City Council unanimously approved a real estate purchase contract with local businessman Dan McEntee for the sale of the Brown’s Ice Cream Building at 2557 Grant Ave.
McEntee, who is an owner of Rooster’s B Street Brewery, the Angry Goat Pub & Kitchen and The McEntee Group Consulting, will purchase the building for $100,000.
Sitting on 0.137 acres immediately west of the Ogden Justice Court, the historic building is in rough shape. It was estimated by appraisers to be worth about $322,000, but the facility needs about $226,000 worth of repair and deferred maintenance work.
The building is the only remaining piece of the old Hostess/Wonder Bread factory that operated for years downtown. Ogden City purchased the entire Wonder Bread site at 26th and Grant Avenue for $2.4 million in 2016. The city ultimately tore down the old factory, but kept the Brown building. The demolition left the vacant building in worse condition than it already was, but city officials say the structural integrity of the facility is still sound.
Ogden Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper said McEntee wants to use the Brown building for office space and a new restaurant.
Cooper said McEntee’s plan fits in nicely with the city’s vision to redevelop the site, which is called the “Continental Community Reinvestment Area,” and includes portions of six blocks between 25th and 27th streets, from Washington Boulevard to Wall Avenue.
“We don’t usually sell a lot of our assets, we usually keep them for our own redevelopment purposes,” Cooper said.
The city administration has said the Continental area is in need of major improvement, beyond what could be provided by the private sector. The CRA designation allows the city to use tax increment financing (which funnels new tax revenue back to projects in the area) to help fund a host of redevelopment items — vacant building removal, the development of new housing units, public infrastructure improvements, the renovation of existing buildings and more.
According to city council documents, the old Wonder Bread/Hostess factory, the Weber County Jail, the Ogden Justice Court and the Salvation Army, Bank of Utah and American Linen buildings are listed as potential redevelopment sites. Other key projects associated with the CRA include the construction of new attached single-family and multi-family units, consolidation of parking and the redevelopment of portions of the municipal block. Project expenditures for the CRA could total as much as $236.2 million.
Cooper said Ogden enlisted a commercial real estate broker to list the building for sale, and McEntee made an offer within a month. He said because the property is integral to the city’s redevelopment plan, the city vetted the buyer more than they typically will when selling off assets.
“Usually the validity of a buyer is represented in the ability for them to come to the closing table,” Cooper said. “That’s really the only vetting that we would do traditionally on a buyer, but in this case he’s a little bit more than a buyer — we want to see a development scenario take place.”
Aside from the B Avenue Brewery, McEntee also worked with the city more than a decade ago to build the Bingham Cyclery at about 19th Street and Washington Boulevard. Cooper said McEntee has completed several other Ogden projects without participation from the city over the past 20 years.
As part of the contract, McEntee must obtain a certificate of occupancy within two years of the sale closing and have the building placed on the Historic Register.