From the Standard Examiner
With Kneaders Bakery & Cafe opening, work finishing on the Ogden River Restoration project and several other projects either beginning or concluding, Ogden city officials say this summer signifies the start of what will be a total transformation of downtown Ogden’s northern tip.
“The northern part of downtown has been kind of a wasteland for a while now,” said Ogden’s Business Development Manager Steve Fishburn. “With the acquisition and demolition of some of the properties along there, it’s been pretty bare and desolate. It’s just kind of sat there as open space.”
But Fishburn said that’s all about to change.
The $6 million river restoration project, which included a total clean up and rebuild of the river as it traverses through Ogden, wrapped up in early June.
Kneaders opened a few days ago at 1953 Washington Blvd. — an area that has been for years one big collection of vacant, unkempt lots.
Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s Community Economic Development manager, said a total of 15 townhomes will be completed in the area within the next 180 days.
Construction also began on GEAR:30, a 10,000-square-foot outdoor gear and sporting goods store. The building will be on the east side of Washington Boulevard, immediately north of Kneaders.
Most of the work in the area is associated with the city’s Riverbend project, a mixed-use development scheduled to encompass 60 acres, straddling the Ogden River from 18th to 20th streets and Washington Boulevard to Wall Avenue.
The project began back in 2002. It has been somewhat of a headache for the city as officials struggled to attract tenants to the area. But Mayor Mike Caldwell said this summer’s signs of life are promising.
“It’s taken some time,” he said. “But we are finally starting to develop some momentum with the Riverbend project. As these businesses come in, we think we’ll see a domino effect and other developments will start to follow.”
Other developments, outside of the Riverbend project boundaries, are sprucing up northern downtown too.
Fishburn said one example of that is the Ogden Rox wholesale company, which is moving into the old Deseret Industries facility at 2048 Washington Blvd., a building that has been vacant for several years.
Fishburn and Caldwell said the renovation of the Ogden Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple will also improve the area.
The city projects 400,000 people will visit the temple every year when the renovation is complete.
For the past few years the Slackwater Pizza and Pub and the Bingham Cyclery have essentially been on a island when it comes to retail choices in the area.
Slackwater owner Justin Gumm said although his business has done well despite a lack of neighbors, he’s pleased to see new businesses coming in.
“Competition is good, especially when you are over on this part of town,” he said “The more traffic we can get in this area, the better it will be for everybody.
“I really think you are going to start to see this part of town thrive. People are starting to realize everything doesn’t begin and end on 25th Street.”
Thanks to the Standard Examiner for this story.