OGDEN — After more than two years of work, a decades-old eyesore that sits in the heart of Ogden’s creative district and immediately behind one of the city’s most famous landmarks, is coming down.
Crews are currently working to remove The Courtyard Inn Motel, which sits at 445 25th St., directly behind the 93-year-old, historic Bigelow Hotel
In 2017, Ogden City bought the dilapidated motel for $970,000 from owners Jayhoun Saissan and Jalal Afnane.
The space is a prime piece of real estate according to city officials. It sits inside the city’s Nine Rails Creative District and is part of Ogden’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.
Acquiring and razing the motel will allow the city to develop a public square that would act as a transition space for pedestrians moving between the Weber County Library area and downtown.
The motel was blighted and crime-ridden for several years before the city purchased it.
In December 2011, former Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey ordered the building closed for occupancy after it was cited for multiple violations related to junk and debris, unlicensed vehicles, no smoke detectors and several other safety hazards inside the facility’s rooms.
The motel was brought back to compliance in May 2012 and occupants were allowed back in, but problems persisted. According to city council documents, the Ogden Police Department made 71 service calls to the motel between November 2016 and June 2017. The nature of the calls ranged from noise violations and drug use to thefts and assault.
Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s deputy director of Community and Economic Development, said the tear down of the motel was previously funded by the city council and is almost finished.
“They’re pretty close to getting to that point, in terms of the entire building being removed and gone,” Cooper said.
The Ogden City Council recently approved a $585,000 budget amendment that will pay for drainage issues at the site and for a retaining wall that needs to be built to protect the Bigelow Hotel as the area is regraded after the motel is razed. Those funds include $185,000 in contingency money, in case future inspections reveal additional problems with the building.