Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Downtown Project Gets a Green Light

Added Bonus: A powerful Standard-Examiner online guest commentary

This morning's Standard-Examiner finally lets the cat out of the bag, more or less, concerning the frenzy of chatter which has focused on mysterious activity in the Ogden downtown area along Washington Boulevard between 23d and 24th streets over the past several months. From this morning's Di Lewis story we learn that there are two big-dollar projects on Boss Godfrey's drawing board for this area:
Downtown project gets greenlight
Piecing together the somewhat fragmented information which Ms. Lewis provides this morning, it appears the whole situation is lining up like this, with two projects in the Ogden City pipeline:

1) East side of Washington Boulevard (total bonding: $13 million):
A four-building retail development on the east side of Washington Boulevard between 23rd and 24th streets is proposed by Octagon Capital Partners, a Virginia-based company. A $9 million bond, which Octagon would repay, is going toward the $17 million retail development, while Ogden is getting a $4 million bond for a 250-stall parking garage behind the development.
2) West Side of Washington Boulevard (total bonding: $14 million):
The city is planning to bring another development, across the street from this one, to the county for bond money next Tuesday.
That development proposal is from Salt Lake City-based Sequoia Development, which would put in a 125- to-140-room hotel with possible other retail spaces and a subterranean parking garage.[...]
... $9 million for the hotel and retail and $3 million for the parking, which also would have 250 spaces.
Combined bonding for these projects: $27 million. Ouch! And who will be required to extend their municipal credit to bond for these two projects, O ye Gentle Emerald City taxpayers? Take a wild guess.

Other aspects of this morning's story remain fuzzy. In her opening paragraph Ms. Lewis offers this:
A Washington Boulevard parking garage and retail development project has received a financial go-ahead from Weber County.
Further down the story however, we find this:
Commissioners made sure they were not approving the construction of the parking structure, which is partially on county property, because the county is considering putting a secondary health department building on the land.
So at this juncture we're not provided enough information to determine with any certainty exactly what Weber County's role is in this, except to note that Ms. Lewis does inform us that Weber County will be throwing in an unspecified amount of federal grant money:
The commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to allocate bond money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as stimulus money.
But then there's this paragraph, which adds to the confusion:
The city is planning to bring another development, across the street from this one, to the county for bond money next Tuesday.
(For the time being we'll assume that Ms. Lewis mistakenly used the wrong terminology here, and that she she did not mean to suggest that Ogden City would be asking Weber County to engage in its own bonding effort, but rather to inform Std-Ex readers that the Godfrey Administration would be making a pitch for the county's federal stimulus money, which is apparently already in the bag.)

And while we're on the subject of Washington Boulevard urban renewal, we'll take a short side tour and direct our readers' attention to an excellent and powerful guest commentery which popped up on the Std-Ex Live! website yesterday morning, wherein East Washington Boulevard property owner John Bowen comments about last Tuesday's Ogden City Property Confiscation Committee Hearing, in which he and some of his fellow adjacent property owners got ambushed by a council which apparently had its minds made up even prior the the blight hearing:
Property owner questions blight designation
We extract this pithy paragraph from Mr. Bowen's compelling guest commentary:
Your readers need to know that this Entire Blight Meeting was a Joke. I believe the vote was determined ahead of time! It was meant to make us feel like the politicians were hearing our input, which was not true. They did not listen or care about any of the input that came from the property owners. There were almost no questions that were ask of the property owners by the City Council or the mayor. The only reason this meeting was conducted was to comply with the requirements in the law as it was written. If the City Council and Mayor really wanted the property owners input or had any regard at all for our desires, they would have met with us beforehand.
In closing, Mr. Bowen offers this sage advice:
I hope the voters will keep a watchful eye on what the City Council and the Mayor do, and hold them accountable at election time. Your property, which you feel is safe, may be next in the line of fire. Three weeks ago I thought my property was safe!
Duly noted Mr., Bowen; and we're certain that the ever-attentive Emerald City Lumpencitizens will carefully heed your advice.


Curmudgeon said...

First question, also not reported in the story: Does Octagon Capital Partners currently own or have options on all the property it will need to build what it wants to build?

RudiZink said...

Curm: I got it yesterday from a very reliable source that not only does Octogon have options for these properties, but that Octogon now has these properties under contract, pursuant to negotiations which have been happening since October.

Curmudgeon said...


OK. Good to know. That means for the Octagon portion of the RDA, eminent domain proceedings will not be necessary to complete the project. Consistent with the Administration's assurances that ED proceedings were not planned for this RDA.

Biker Babe said...

According to the Trib, there really are some cities in Utah that care about kids/education and $$$ for them instead of projects out of federal/state/city $$ that will eventually come out of our pockets: These Cities are actually asking for bonding for SCHOOLS Plus they are asking for a public vote on the bonding.


Biker Babe

wv: sacti, singular of sactum, which is when all those guys pile on the quarterback in football

TJ said...

How much did the City Council know about Octagon when they made their decision last week?

oldtimer said...

More stinky, smelly Godfrey S---.

Only now it looks like we may also have a stinky, smelly group of County Commassioners.

I knew Bishoff was a stinky, smelly but he has evidently contaminated the other two as well.

The biggest question however is what financial institution will be stupid enough to bond these projects--

Or may be the politicians will find a way to just spend our Stimulus money to pay for the whole boondoggle???????

time to gird up for 2011 said...

"How much did the City Council know about Octagon when they made their decision last week?"

You can be certain that the 5 majority morons on the Ogden City Council know absolutely NOTHING about "Octogon" or the other one, "Secoquia"

They're lazy slugs for the most part. And they don't sully themselves with due diligence. Much better to get invited to all the Godfreyite rallies and be heros at weekend Chamber of Commerce Meetups.

We have a weak-kneed socialist majority in Ogden City at this time.

Time to start ramping up and run Gochnour and Stephensen out in 2011.

Dan S. said...

As Rudi points out, Ms. Lewis's article is simply confusing. Somebody needs to talk to the city and county officials and sort this all out. Wish I had the time...

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