Thursday, April 21, 2011

Breaking: River Project Land Sale Under Negotiation

69 townhomes and commercial spaces as part of the long-awaited Ogden River Project

By: Curmudgeon

Breaking... The Standard-Examiner just put up a story detailing the latest River Project development proposal, which begins with a plan by the Ogden RDA to sell about 6 acres in the Project area to a SLC developer (SouthRiver LLC) to build town homes. Part of the purchase price will be in cash, part will rely on tax increment funding.

Full story here:
Comments anyone?

35 comments:

Dan S. said...

I'd love to see the administration's arithmetic for the tax increment financing.

You can't collect tax increment on an RDA area until its value exceeds what it was worth before it became an RDA area. So far, the River Project area has decreased in value, because so many homes and other buildings have been demolished. How many townhomes will it take to bring the value back to what it was, let alone exceed that to generate tax increment revenue? How long will it take to build that many townhomes?

And the clock is ticking. The tax increment collection on the River Project area expires after 2019. Will the city be asking for an extension?

Jennifer said...

So what happened with the mixed-use zoning proposal? Wasn't that on the agenda for this week? Where is Mr. Schwebke's report?

... inquiring minds want to know ...

TLJ

RudiZink said...

If I'm not mistaken, Jennifer, Tuesday's discussion of an administration mixed-use zoning proposal was conducted in a council work session, and thus no ultimate decision as to such oridinance would have been formally made at that meeting.

ozboy said...

Hopefully this new group has more integrity than the last several, and of course the Godfreyites themselves. Given who the mayor usually is drawn to, and bunks up with, that might be a stretch. But it would be nice if some one actually built something in that god forsaken wasteland the incompetent crooks have created there over the last ten years.

Dorrene Jeske said...

I have concern on this change for the River Front development project -- what kind of townhouses are these going to be? We don't need any more low-income housing downtown. I voiced my concern about this when I was on the Council, and was told that the housing in the Junction and River Front would not be low income. Well, the rodeo housing in the Junction is low-income, and I suspect a good share of the townhouses and other housing in the River Front area will be also. This will cause all kinds of problems for the police and safety issues for Ogden residents who wish to visit the areas. It will be very convenient for gang members and the undesirable element to harras and disrupt people going there to eat, or attend one of the venues and disappear into their home or that of fellow gang member.

We'ew all glad to see somthing happening in the River Front area, but let's be descreet in choosing what is built there.

Century 21 said...

Aren't we jumping the gun a little, already proclaiming the River Project to be a gang infested, low income housing development? I mean really, how can a prediction like this be made? I believe that any housing or other mixed used has to both pass the Planning Commission, complete with zoning and other ordinances, and the RDA and CC.

Also, if one would take the value of one of those lots, or a block of those lots, that populated the area prior to their being torn down, the new and improved lots will most likely be worth a hell of a lot more than the old ones that held the delapidated house on them.

Seems like every time someone presents a progressive solution to this River Project problem, the same tired old voice try to shoot it down before it even gets through the preliminary stages.

Mike said...

My guess is the design will be something similiar to the townhomes over on north pingree. 2 stories with loft, tight and economical floor plans, landscaping about what you would expect from a "section 8" style development, and poor to the point of being almost unusable fixtures and installations _ similiar in quality to what was carelessly included in the union Square project.... which is, btw, still unfinished 7 years behind schedule and showing signs of tenant/owner neglect.

Mixed use in that area would really be nice: but, a rental office, off site landlord, high turn over Glengary Glen Ross type shuckksterism development does not fullfill the promises made when the city evicted people from their homes.

To give it to a developer. Slushy departure on the part of the Mayor.

Curmudgeon said...

Good question, Dorrene. I wonder what the answer is.

Curmudgeon said...

Off topic but related to promoting Ogden:

Picked up this morning one of the promotion cards for the coming Ogden Music Festival. [They're popping up on store counters all over town about now.]

Very nicely done. Attractive design, good layout. And the flip side has exactly the kind of information, clearly displayed, folks not familiar with Ogden might want. Activities available, lodging, how to get to the site from the interstate or from Ogden Station if you're coming by Frontrunner. And it notes "trolley rides" will be available to take you from the concert site to downtown Ogden, and from the Frontrunner station to the concert site --- a good use for the little Tonnerville Trolley buses that have been running downtown for some months. [Are they still running?]

So, nice work whoever designed the promotion card. There is an unfortunate proofreading gaffe [I'm pretty sure it's the "Red Desert Ramblers" not the "Red Desert Ramlers"], but that aside, first rate work .

Curmudgeon said...

Century 21 makes a good point.

Dorrene asked a good question --- will the housing planned be low end housing?. But we don't know the answer to that question yet, as Century 21 noted. No plans made public other than the general scope of the project [about 70 town homes]. Given past performance on Godfrey Administration conducted projects, concern about what's being planned is not unreasonable. But at this point, it's just speculation.

The concerns former Councilwoman Jeske raises are legitimate. The predictions that the project will become a crime-ridden slum are --- based on the little we know so far --- over the top.

Danny said...

I really appreciate a local paper, and I appreciate these issues being covered, but Schwebke's articles are so biased it's impossible to tell what's going on from them.

They're just cheer leading. He quotes Godfrey's drones but nobody else.

What are the pros and cons? Ups and downs? Both sides of the story?

I've seen Schwebke around, but his articles make it seem like he's not a real person, or that he's not a whole person.

It's time to fire the guy. The paper needs somebody to cover these sorts of things competently.

As far as the River Project proposal, how can tiny, packed together dwellings with no intervening open space or amenities turn out any way but one? Century 21, got an answer, or do you just figure more units, more commissions for you?

They need to slow this thing down. We didn't condemn all this land just to rush something like this through. The plan maps do not look good to me.

Danny said...

60 acres.

Figure 1/3 of that for streets, and another 1/3 for various types of business, parking, etc. So 20 acres is left.

1500 people divided by 20 acres is 75 per acre, or 15 per fifth acre.

1/5 acre is pretty small for 15 people to live. That's tight for flat ground living. Many single family lots in the city are 1/5 acre. Figure 5 people per house and THREE houses per 1/5 acre lot.

I realize my estimates are rough, but they are good ballpark numbers. That many people in that area, and it will be hard to breathe.

Why would the city council consider this proposal? Have they been duped into believing we must act quickly once again?

Poole said...

C21 types, "...the new and improved lots will most likely be worth a hell of a lot more than the old ones that held the delapidated house..."

Typical realtor logic.
One: a house, or land, does not magically increase in real value simply because it is bought and sold repeatedly. If you believe that this is not factual, perhaps you are not purchasing a home that is now outfitted with an upside down mortgage.
2: the eyesores that you describe, many of them were actually homes, not entries in a ledger book of property you are hustling.

Disgusted said...

Dan S made a real good point earlier on this project.
Tax increments aren’t really there until the property gets back to its original carrying value. In other words this whole project is not going to generate a bunch of tax increment dollars for the developer to pay the city. Additionally tax increments on that property are only collectable there for 8 more years.
Maybe one of these real estate guru buddies of Godfrey or one of the BD department guys with the city can answer this. If these are going to be townhomes (which suggests residential property sales by the developer rather than retained rental income property by the developer) how are the tax increments going to be paid by the developer? Or is the developer calling these townhomes just to make it sound better than apartments? I mean the developer is the one on the hook to pay the tax increment, how does he pay these tax increments if he no longer owns these townhomes.
My assumption would be that in actuality the developer is going to be acquiring the property for only the initial upfront cash and the whole discussion about tax increments it to cover up the low sales price of the property.
If we were only after a high density housing project we could have done this latest proposal 10 years ago and not have spent the millions of dollars on the river project that the city has already spent.
Council should reject this latest proposal as part of the mayor’s hale merry pass to say he was responsible for this project coming together. This is not what we are looking for on the river or in the immediate area.

Nature Happens said...

This bing earthquake country, (even if we don't pay much attention to it because they don't happen here all that often,)the river being dammed up and this project is down stream from a whole lot of water being held back, what size earthquake is Pineview Dam expected to withstand? Does anyone know?

Dorrene Jeske said...

In reply to C21, you’re a dreamer if you think the CC had any input on the Rodeo housing in the Junction. Like everything else Godfrey does, we were told by his flunky Dave Harmer, that the apartments were going to be Rodeo low-income apartments. The contract was signed and all arrangements made when we heard about it. The P.C. and the C.C. function with minimal information that Godfrey allows them to receive from the administration.
My comments were based on the drawings of the buildings that would line the river, and to me they looked more like tenements in a big city than desirable apartments in an upscale multi-use parkway, I also said, “Let’s be discreet in choosing what is built there.” Danny’s right in his assessment of this new plan and that the drawings don’t look right. And C21, let’s hope the new buildings eventually increase the value of the area and the 70 + year old homes that they replace. I believe that is the purpose of the River Front project. Built as pictured, I just wonder how long they will remain worth more before they, too, fall into disrepair and neglect.
The river setting begs for open green areas and well-planned mixed-use, not scrunched together tenements. Danny’s right: “they need to slow this thing down.” Let’s get it right! We’ve waited a long time for something to happen in the River Front area, we can wait a little longer to get it right.

C. Rose said...

I hope this time the developer will not be allowed to pre-sell the units, using unscrupulous contracts, and then when the developer fails to deliver as represented, saying: tough luck.

The whole give money to developers, and sell dreams attitude should stop. Now, preferably: but I will settle for early next year.

Disgusted said...

Dorrene,

The river setting begs for open green areas and well-planned mixed-use, not scrunched together tenements. Let’s get it right! We’ve waited a long time for something to happen in the River Front area, we can wait a little longer to get it right.

Exactly, couldn't have said it better myself.

OgdenLover said...

With all the financial shell games and tax increment financing, I foresee a day when the only people paying taxes in Ogden will be homeowners and the few businesses that existed before Godfrey took office. Everyone else will be having a free ride. Then how will we get people to move here?

Centruy 21 said...

Dorrenne, you make some valid points, but to assume that the area will be a gang ridden slum even before it goes before the various boards, based on your perception of some drawings, is absurd. If a property falls into a state of disrepair and neglect, it is generally the owners fault, not the city's.

As for Poole, it's obvious he knows zilch about what an "improved" property is, the costs that go into improving said property, not to mention the demolition, and the hoops one has to jump through at the City in order to build. Also, if you had attended any council meetings back when the RP was being discussed, you would have heard that 90% of the owners of these "homes" were adamant at getting a pay out and moving on. This area has been an eyesore for years, still is thanks to the way it's been handled, but should be quite nice looking in the future, despite Jeske's predictions.

blackrulon said...

C21-I have read your comments about the New River Project and can see some perception problems. In many ways the housing and business development in the area is similar to what existed prior to its destruction. One of the problems was the city did not take an aggressive attitude to problems in the area concerning violations. What appears to be coming is still crowded housing but with new buildings. The claim that 90% were adamant at getting a payout is factually true. However the city applied tremendous pressure on homeowners to accept early offers. Seeing to way to stay owners accepted the inevitable and moved out. The vast majority wished to remain but saw no way for that to happen. the city and its threat of imminent domain left them no real alternative. We had a neighborhood downtown close to everything but it seems the people occupying those homes were not wanted.

OgdenLover said...

With all the financial shell games and tax increment financing, I foresee a day when the only people paying taxes in Ogden will be homeowners and the few businesses that existed before Godfrey took office. Everyone else will be having a free ride. Then how will we get people to move here?

C. Rose said...

I hope this time the developer will not be allowed to pre-sell the units, using unscrupulous contracts, and then when the developer fails to deliver as represented, saying: tough luck.

The whole give money to developers, and sell dreams attitude should stop. Now, preferably: but I will settle for early next year.

Nature Happens said...

This bing earthquake country, (even if we don't pay much attention to it because they don't happen here all that often,)the river being dammed up and this project is down stream from a whole lot of water being held back, what size earthquake is Pineview Dam expected to withstand? Does anyone know?

Poole said...

C21 types, "...the new and improved lots will most likely be worth a hell of a lot more than the old ones that held the delapidated house..."

Typical realtor logic.
One: a house, or land, does not magically increase in real value simply because it is bought and sold repeatedly. If you believe that this is not factual, perhaps you are not purchasing a home that is now outfitted with an upside down mortgage.
2: the eyesores that you describe, many of them were actually homes, not entries in a ledger book of property you are hustling.

Disgusted said...

I‘ve had a couple of thoughts on the current processes being proposed by the administration on the river project s that seem illogical to me. First is the control over the development process of this area and the second is the true intended use of the area.
After reading what the administration has put before the city council I am left scratching my head as to who and how this development is going to be managed into what is being communicated to the city council and residents as to what it will be developed into.
Specifically the administration is talking about the City entering into a master development agreement for the river project with Millrock Development LLC and they will then oversee the entire project. Then a couple of days ago I read in the paper that SouthRiver LLC (a separate company from Millrock) is under contract with our City’s RDA to buy 6 acres of land to construct 69 townhomes and some commercial space.
What goes here? The City’s RDA is selling off property to a third party company that isn’t even the proposed developer of the master plan for the project with the purchaser providing specific development expectations for the property they intend to buy from the RDA and before we even have an approved new master plan for the area? The City hasn’t even approved the proposed new mixed use ordinance nor has the City Council approved the new development agreement for the river project nor has the city entered into a signed agreement with the developer for the whole area yet and we’ve selling off property to a third parties that may or may not build in compliance with what the purposed and yet not even agreed upon new master plan may envisions for that specific area. Talk about cart in front of the horse.
City Council needs to get things back in order before they turn this whole thing into a train wreck.
Council must decide if they like the new mixed use ordinance (hopefully not), then they must decide what the master plan for the entire area should look like (not what some developer puts in front of them but rather what they think it should look like), and then and only then and then only if the City really felt they need one (I feel that the city has enough development staff to handle the job internally), go out to bid for developers that would share the Council’s vision for development the area. Then coordinate with that developer/development team when it comes to selling off RDA property.
The second though has to do with the vision for the area and what constitutes mixed use. The current mixed use ordinance (assuming the city council rejects the administration’s newest proposal to amend the mixed use ordinance) only allows 60% of the entire area to be housing of any type. The reason for the maximum 60% is to ensure that the area functions as a true mixed use area, where people work, eat and live in the same area. When you mess with the 60% maximum, as the administration is proposing, the area will not function as a mixed use area but rather it will function as that of the overriding predominate land use. In the administration’s latest proposal, as a high density, low income housing project. The administration mixed use ordinance has even downsized the size of the residential units offered in the project which further ensures the lower end rental market appeal of the property. This is not what Ogden envisioned for the area.
Currently the proposed project processes are out of sequence, out of perspective to their original vision, out of control and the whole project is not going to end well if the Council does not intervene. City Council needs to show leadership by slowing this process down to ensure the City gets what it wants.

Disgusted said...

Another consideration about the current agreements that the administration is asking the City Council to buy off on.
If an outside developer is chosen to oversee and develop the master plan that developer would have to work with the various landowners in the project area to ensure fair treatment of all involved stakeholder and landowners while conforming to the envisioned master plan.
I don’t see anywhere where this is addressed in what is being put in front of the city council to sign. The current proposal does not address the fair treatment of the various landowners.
For example in the latest RDA announced sale, the high revenue generating use of the property is envisioned by this proposed purchaser but obviously not all land owners will be allowed to build to this high density level if the project is to be anything other than a tenement project. How does the city protect those other landowners (and there are several) that are not friends of the administration from being informed that their land can only be used for open space, thus those landowners would not only have been be shut out of the process, potentially been financially injured, but also been placed in a non-negotiable position with the master plan developer? A position that the City would have to take some responsibility for placing them there and thus opening up the city to be sued and sued potentially big time. With all the various landowners it is naive to think that they would not want a say in the process or that they won’t resort to legal means to protect their interests. The City needs to have all landowners buy in to the master plan if this project is to move forward to anywhere other than the courts.
The city must get all landowners to buy into this latest master plan which is unlikely, or rewrite the master plan agreement to incorporated the various landowners (and this will take some time) or abandon this approach.
I myself would rather see the City oversee the development of this area and thus the City itself could address each individual piece of property as it was developed. Separate developers could buy out land owners (or joint venture with them) in the open market to combine those properties with their other land holdings to advance their projects that conform to the City’s master plan for the area thus removing the City from potential legal liabilities. It would allow the City to have the final say as to where the various types of property uses are located or where the density will be the highest. The whole project would also be more malleable should the City decide to take it in a somewhat different direction in the future.
As example if the city found that the project area was being better received in the marketplace as a restaurant district then the city had originally envisioned it could then more easily emphasize that aspect of the project where it might not have that luxury with an outside developer who holds control over the master plan. The developer may feel that he would see a higher return for his company by using the land in another use thus the city would not be able to maximize the use of the project for the city’s benefit. The City has more to gain by retaining control over the development of this area and City Council should push for this.
One final thought, if one party can come into the City RDA buy property and tell the City what it’s going to do with the property without having the holder of the master plan involved in this decision (and I might add without a master plan being in place) then what is the need for a master plan agreement with an outside developer in the first place?

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rudizink said...

For good or ill, we've now converted to the Disqus comments service.

Not to worry , people, we will tidy up and MAKE AVAILABLE six year's comments on WCF, within the next few hours.

Bottom line, The Times are CHANGING.. Very Sad Indeed that a little shithead troll like Stephen M. Cook should ultimately force us to bring our comments section into the 21st Century.

Dan S. said...

Details, please--I want the full story!

rudizink said...

I'm still tweaking it. But it'll be VERY Good. Patience, please.

Wonderin' said...

What size earthquake is Pineview Dam expected to maintain structural integrity, anyone have info?

Dan S. said...

I mean I want details about the incident that prompted this change!

rudizink said...

I'm tired of dealing with Google's poor comments service, Dan. My 91 year old Mormon mom, who reads this blog daily, was distressed a coupla days ago, reading a Stephen M. Cook post, about the "buggering of Jesus Christ."

I've been contemplating moving from the crappy google comments service for quite a while; and decided today that it was finally time to make the move to a comments service which actually lets a blog publisher oust the trolls who keep Google Bloggers like me up all night.

More to come later, Dan...

Dorrene Jeske said...

Rudi, I have problems with this new format. Am I in a different thread than an hour or two ago? I can't find the previous threads and comments. If this is the same thread that I posted on a couple of hours ago, then where are my comments and it seems as though there were one or two comments that are showing now. I'm not too concerned that I'm having problems, it seems as though I always do until I get the hang of the new program, but I would just like to know what happened to the comments made on the old format, They seem to not have made the switch.

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