OGDEN – A Land Transfer Development Agreement and Associated Equity Incentive Agreement for a multi-family townhouse and loft development located at 2524 Wall Ave. were approved Tuesday evening by the Redevelopment Agency’s Board of Directors, made up of members of Ogden City Council and the Mayor.
The city reportedly struggled to offload the property, after trying to sell it in 2009 and via a failed development deal in 2018.
Brandon Cooper, the city’s director of community and economic development, said the land is difficult to develop due to the added costs of meeting required parking as well as the incorporation of an existing retention pond for an adjacent business.
Having asked other developers to pass on projects for these reasons, Cooper said the city felt that transferring the land with a tax increase would offset the additional costs to encourage development.
Salt Lake City-based developer Highline Partners LLC approached Ogden City’s redevelopment agency in late 2020 to propose development on the city-owned property.
According to city documents, the Ogden Community and Economic Development Department proposed the transfer of approximately 0.71 acres to the developer at no cost with an incentive agreement for a tax increase from the Mainland Community Reinvestment Area until to $2.6 million over a 15-year period.
Tax increment financing, a post-performance incentive used by the GDR, claws back the tax difference of property value over post-value, which would otherwise go to standard tax entities.
Cooper said the RDA will annually present a check to Highline with the tax increase, per contract, for the development of a project that could not be completed under normal market standards.
Jeremy Keele, managing partner at Highline, said the company was looking to create something in keeping with the urban aesthetic of Ogden town center when it approached the GDR.
“We are true believers in downtown Ogden,” Keele said.
The proposed development would complete the 25th Street Union Square Condominiums, built in 2008 but not completed due to economic circumstances, by adding five townhouses.
Highline’s largest project facing Wall Avenue will consist of 116 apartments for rent at market price. Residents will have on-site parking through the construction of a podium type parking structure.
Keele said the venture creates housing opportunities for those who want to live, work and play in downtown Ogden.
Plans associated with the Continental CRA, established in 2019 to improve and invest in a six-block downtown area, include removing vacant buildings, creating efficient land use, consolidating parking as well as the addition of “essential housing units”.
A series of public open houses were held by the city administration in early 2018, regarding future plans for the area generally bounded by Wall Avenue and Washington Boulevard between 25th and 27th streets.
Local residents, businesses and other stakeholders in and around project areas such as the mainland ARC are always informed publicly, Cooper said.
According to Cooper, a general community consensus was “desirable” when informed of the intent behind the Continental CRA.
“25th Street definitely wants to see things grow,” Cooper said.
The land is not expected to open until the spring of 2023, as Highline will be working on predevelopment for the next six to nine months.