Standard Examiner File Photo MITCH SHAW
OGDEN — According to a developer’s vision unveiled this week, the former Wangsgards grocery block would be transformed into a large apartment complex, single-family homes, commercial outlets and open spaces.
Mike Bastian, representing Farr West developer Hutzley Inc., gave general details of the project concept to members of Ogden City Council on Tuesday, as the panel considered two preliminary steps that would pave the way for the development of the project.
The Wangsgards building, one of three defunct grocery stores at the Five Points intersection, sits on the northeast corner of Washington Boulevard and Second Street. The site has been vacant for years, although a sandwich shop and other businesses remain in operation in an adjacent strip.
“We believe in the region, it’s kind of forgotten,” Bastian told the council. “We want to bring him back.”
The developer envisions multi-family and single-family housing, as well as commercial elements and open spaces. Open space may include a dog park and pickleball courts, Bastian said.
Image provided, Town of Ogden
Council was asked on Tuesday to approve the release of First Street behind the old grocery store, between Adams Avenue and Washington. “It’s literally a landlocked room, with a homeless camp there,” Bastian said, with corroborating testimony from Joe Simpson, a senior planner in Ogden City.
A second proposal was to change the zoning of the affected First Street land, so that the entire proposed development block was zoned uniformly.
Bastian said that if the city leaves the never-developed street and changes the zoning, the developer’s intention is to buy the vacated strip from the city.
But council tabled the two measures for further consideration after council member Richard Hyer said he wanted to know more about the developer’s plans for the block. He wondered how the project might fit into the city’s plans to eventually attract another grocery store to Five Points or elsewhere in the northern part of town.
The city had two viable grocery stores at Five Points for half a century before the Wangsgards building closed and the subsequent demise of Harmon’s, then Ridley’s, operations in the northwest quadrant of the intersection.
Hyer said he hopes the new development will have significant businesses on the ground floor. “It would be very myopic of us to take a historically commercial area and convert it to all residential use, and we would mourn the loss of that use for decades to come,” he said.
Bastian said the developers had purchased an old house on Adams Avenue behind the old store, with the intention of renovating it and selling it as an owner-occupied home. He said that as the project comes to fruition, a second, older house will also be renovated and two new houses will be built on part of the land that will be vacated with the First Street action.
“It will enhance the residential vibe of Adams,” he said, with the remainder of that First Street land available for open space and additional parking for the new development.