Housing sprouts off Wall Avenue, officials look into means to spur more development

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New development taking shape off the northwest corner of Wall Avenue and 17th Street in Ogden, photographed Feb. 5, 2023. Westates Cos. is spearheading the development of several apartment buildings and townhomes, some complete, at the location. It’s inside the city’s proposed Gibson Community Reinvestment Project Area.

Denny Montgomery, Special to the Standard-Examiner

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A new apartment building taking shape off the northwest corner of Wall Avenue and 17th Street in Ogden, photographed March 2, 2023. Westates Cos. is spearheading the development of several apartment buildings and townhomes, some complete, at the location. It’s inside the city’s proposed Gibson Community Reinvestment Project Area.

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

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The area in yellow denotes the proposed Gibson Community Reinvestment Project area. It’s located off the west side of Wall Avenue and sits between 12th and 21st streets, extending west, in sections, to the western Ogden boundary.

Image supplied, City of Ogden

OGDEN — The Ogden neighborhood west of Wall Avenue between 12th and 21st streets has been getting an injection of development with several new apartment complexes and townhomes taking shape in the area.

Lotus Co. of Salt Lake City is spearheading construction of a 284-unit housing development along the Ogden River adjacent to the 21st Street Walmart. Westates Cos., also of Salt Lake City, is heading up development of a 273-unit cluster of apartment buildings and townhomes off the northwest corner of Wall Avenue and 17th Street.

Now Ogden leaders are edging ahead with efforts aimed at spurring yet more development in the area, broadly the zone off the west side of Wall Avenue between 12th and 21st streets extending west, roughly, to the city limits. Last week, Ogden Redevelopment Agency members, made up of City Council members, authorized city economic development and planning officials to carry out a study into the notion of converting the area into a redevelopment zone. That could pave the way for use of property tax funds as an incentive to new development.

Damen Burnham, redevelopment manager for the Ogden Community and Economic Development Department, said staffers will identify potential projects in the area in putting together a report on the matter. “We’re just at the beginning of the process,” Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s community economic development director, told city officials last week.

The Ogden Redevelopment Agency would have final say on creation of the Gibson Community Reinvestment Project Area, or Gibson CRA, but Burnham indicated that the area is ripe for reinvestment.

“Like most of our project areas, we are confident that this reinvestment area will see a variety of new development uses. Commercial and (mixed) residential are likely,” Burnham said. Ogden is already home to 13 community reinvestment areas, known as CRAs, or development zones that are similar to CRAs.

As is, the Gibson area, containing a mix of residential and industrial development, is “in significant need of improvement and additional investment,” according to a report on the plans.

The strip mall containing Winco, the 21st Street Walmart, the Utah Transit Authority Mount Ogden Business Unit and the 21st Street pond abut the proposed CRA zone but are carved out of it. Likewise, Fresenius Medical Care operates a large medical supply manufacturing plant in the area, but it would likely be subtracted from the CRA boundaries.

Inside the proposed CRA boundaries, though, are several housing projects in varied states of development.

Lotus and city reps broke ground on their apartment and townhome project on a 9.9-acre parcel west and north of Walmart — called Riverwalk —  in early 2022. Work is proceeding. The first phase of work calls for 101 apartment units in two buildings and nine townhomes, with eight more townhomes in a future phase, according to city planning documents.

The second phase northeast of that along the south side of the Ogden River to Wall Avenue calls for three buildings containing 174 apartment units between them. “One would front Wall Avenue. The other two would be along the Ogden River,” reads a city planning document.

To the north off the northwest corner of 17th Street and Wall Avenue, Westates is spearheading development of four four-story apartment buildings and eight townhome clusters with six units in each, or 273 units in all. The most ubuiquitous of the structures to Wall Avenue motorists is the four-story structure taking shape off Wall Avenue on the north side of 17th street. The other development, some of it complete, extends west of that.

Development already underway, like the Riverwalk and Westates projects, likely wouldn’t be able to tap into incentive funds if the CRA plans proceed, according to Burnham.

Lotus, however, is contemplating a 350-unit housing development on the north side of the Ogden River, northwest of the Riverwalk project adjacent to Walmart. City officials envision building a bridge west of Walmart to connect the two sides of the waterway.

And even if the Riverwalk and Westates plans didn’t get incentives through the Ogden Redevelopment Agency, which manages CRAs, they qualified for low-income housing tax credits, or LIHTCs, according to Burnham. That attests to the import, he suggests, of allowing for incentives through the CRA structure to spur additional development.

Funding for LIHTCs comes from the feds, though programs are administered by states, and they aim to encourage development of housing geared to moderate- and low-income households.

In discussing the Gibson CRA plans last week, Cooper addressed difficulties in spurring development around the 21st Street Pond west of Walmart, abutting the proposed redevelopment zone. Developers have put forward proposals over the years, but so far nothing deemed feasible enough to pursue, he said.

“So the future redevelopment of that area is highly unlikely,” Cooper said, also referencing the former landfill site west of the pond, which is owned by the city. At any rate, if a feasible redevelopment plan emerged around the lake, it could still tap into CRA benefits, if the CRA zone is formed, because it abuts the area, Cooper said.


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