Ogden plans to move forward on several high-profile cleanup efforts over the next year, according to Local News
OGDEN – Officials at the Ogden Redevelopment Agency say the next fiscal year will be largely a continuum of previous efforts, with an emphasis on advancing several high profile projects that have already begun.
The budget proposed by Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell for fiscal year 2022, which begins July 1, is $ 10.7 million for the city’s RDA. That’s a relatively minor increase of about $ 661,000, or nearly 7%, over fiscal 2021.
However, the RDA is mainly funded through tax increases paid by various redevelopment counties in the city. The counties work by freezing the tax rating for all taxable real estate in a particular area that the city has selected for reinvestment. For a period of time or up to a certain dollar amount, future increases in property tax revenue are used for redevelopment efforts, a common development incentive known as tax increase funding.
The TIF money is typically offered to developers as a motivation to build and can be used for things like road and utility improvements, hazardous waste disposal, property acquisition, and demolition of destroyed buildings. In Ogden, RDAs typically collect the tax increases from the city, county, and school district.
When the duration or dollar thresholds are reached, ideally redesigning an RDA will have raised tax ratings in the area and government agencies will see a new stream of cash that otherwise might not have been there.
The RDA also receives contributions from the Ogden-Cache Business Depot for the city’s rental income. The city collects rental income from tenants operating out of the BDO and divides the money 50-50 in a public-private partnership with Salt Lake City-based Boyer Group. After expenses, the city raises about $ 8 million a year, a figure that doesn’t include property tax revenue there.
The overall goal of the RDA is essentially to rebuild areas of the community that need them while highlighting parts that are already working well.
“In general, our whole purpose is to remove barriers and build on bright spots,” said Brandon Cooper, associate director, Ogden Community and Economic Development.
Over the next year, Cooper said ethics will be applied to several areas of the city.
Cooper said one of the agency’s biggest goals is to complete the environmental remediation work on the site of the old Swift building and begin development efforts there. The city bought the Swift property in 2017 from Utah-Smith, a business unit affiliated with Bert Smith, the late founder of local retailer Smith & Edwards Co. The city has long tried to rehabilitate the land, but the work was delayed after the discovery of a large amount of chemical materials stored in the building. The Environmental Protection Agency began cleaning the site in late March 2019 and completed an extensive redevelopment project later that year.
Located at 390 W. Exchange Road north of the 24th Street Viaduct, the Swift Building was 103 years old when the city began demolition last year. The warehouse was once home to the decommissioned Swift meat packing facility. With its large red “Swift” sign and its prominent location near one of the city’s main entry points, the building has been an icon in Ogden for decades.
The property has long been viewed by city officials as an integral part of the West Ogden redevelopment area known as the Trackline Economic Development Area. The tax-motivated urban project spans 122 acres between 24th Street and Middleton Road from the railroad tracks to G Avenue. From the 1930s onwards, the area was home to the Ogden Stockyards and was once a thriving economic center. When the camps closed in the 1970s, the area quickly fell into disrepair and was largely uninhabited until Trackline was founded in 2013.
The development now encompasses a mix of commercial, manufacturing and light industrial space, including a 51 acre outdoor commercial area called the Ogden Business Exchange, which will be home to the Atwater facility. A mix of local and international companies including Enve Composites, the Selle Royal Company, the Roosters Brewing Company and Ogden’s Own Distillery now operate outside the park.
Ogden City Council approved a $ 1.8 million contract in October 2019 to sell the Swift site to Atwater Infrastructure Partners, which plans to build a 125,000-square-foot aerospace manufacturing facility there.
Cooper said in-depth development work for the city’s Wonder Block project is also scheduled to begin next year. The development site, which once housed the large hostess and miracle bread factory, is located southwest of the Ogden Municipal Building and will eventually comprise almost 300 residential units on a sales area of up to 63,000 square meters. Office space and a boutique hotel with around 100 rooms as well as a new parking structure with 754 parking spaces will also be part of the project.
Similarly, work is to begin within the city block bounded by 24th and 25th Streets to the north and south and Monroe Boulevard and Gramercy Avenue to the east and west. Once home to a Rite Aid drug store and several other retail stores, Ogden City has been trying to redevelop the area for years. The city’s current vision for the Rite Aid block includes a company called Capitol Square, which includes a mix of apartment types, as well as office and retail space. A grocery store, plaza, condos, townhouses, apartments, and improved access to Oasis Community Garden and Lester Park are earmarked for the area.
Cooper said other goals for the agency over the next year are to set up a remote work hub on 25th Street and implement components of the city’s recently approved master plan called “Make Ogden,” among other things. The main goal, however, is that the real field work begins with the efforts mentioned earlier.
“The Make Ogden master plan contains a whole bunch of things that … require the city’s attention,” said Cooper. “(But) our goals … really are to close and bow to some of those projects that you have heard about for several years.”