Ogden River housing project

This rendering shows a proposed housing project to be built along the Ogden River.

OGDEN — Ogden City is working on an incentive agreement with a local developer that officials say is needed to propel a large housing project inside the city’s Ogden River Redevelopment Area.

Ogden’s administration is looking for City Council approval to enter into an agreement with Lotus Partners LLC, which would provide tax increment funding to assist in the development of two phases of commercial and multi-family housing within the Ogden River RDA. Ogden’s Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper said the project consists of about 75 townhomes, which would be available for rent, and two new commercial buildings.

The project would be completed in two phases, Cooper said, and would include work on nearly 5 acres of land, straddling both the north and south sides of the Ogden River near the intersections of Washington and Park boulevards. Cooper said the proposal being considered by the council would provide tax increment funding of up to $1.4 million to Lotus. As part of the agreement, Lotus would have to complete the first phase of construction by Dec. 31, 2021, according to City Council documents.

The project sits within the boundary of Ogden’s 60-acre, tax-incentivized Ogden River RDA at the northern edge of the city’s central business district. The development was originally approved in 2002, when the Ogden City Council voted to establish the project area.

When the city establishes an RDA, it allows developers to receive tax increment financing, a redevelopment mechanism that puts tax revenue increases back into a particular project area. TIF works by freezing the tax valuation for all taxable properties inside an area of land that’s been targeted for reinvestment. For a specified time period or up to a certain dollar amount, future increases in property tax revenue are used in the redevelopment effort.

The money is often used to help finance projects and pay for property acquisitions and maintenance. According to city council documents, the Ogden River RDA can receive TIF until 2027.

For years, the area was mostly vacant and dilapidated, but it now includes townhomes, apartments and several restaurants and retail shops. Since the RDA was established, retail businesses like Gear:30, Kneaders, Slackwater and Ogden River Brewing have opened, along with housing complexes like The Meadows at Riverbend and The View on 20th apartments. Mountain America Credit Union will also open a facility inside the area, at 1825 Washington Blvd., once home to the Ogden River Inn. The decrepit, old motel was demolished in 2019. A restoration of the Ogden River, which cost more than $6 million, was also completed in the area.

Cooper said Lotus owns the property that is tabbed for development, but the city administration views the project as beneficial to Ogden. Cooper said that without the proposed incentives, the project likely wouldn’t be feasible and the portions of land would probably remain vacant for the foreseeable future.

“This is a little different in that we’re not actually trying to partner with a developer to get something that we’re initiating,” Cooper said. “This is a developer-initiated project.”

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