Ogden fine-tuning redevelopment plans for Union Station and the 30 or so acres around it

Dec 23, 2023, 12:55 PM

Union Station in Ogden, pictured Friday, is the focus of a major upgrade initiative. Plans also cal...

Union Station in Ogden, pictured Friday, is the focus of a major upgrade initiative. Plans also call for redevelopment of the 30 or so acres to the north and south of it. (Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

(Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

OGDEN — Ogden’s Union Station, which turns 100 next year, has been a fierce focal point of debate as city leaders, teaming with the Utah Transit Authority, move forward with plans to upgrade the facility and redevelop the 30 or so acres around it.

Now a pair of development concepts have emerged outlining specifics of the potential change, subject to review by the public and continued refinement. The change, very broadly, would entail the addition of housing, retail space and more on the grounds around Union Station, similar to redevelopment efforts around the UTA FrontRunner station in Clearfield and the evolving vision around the Roy FrontRunner station. The FrontRunner stop in Ogden sits just north of Union Station, but the platform would be shifted to the rear of the station per the redevelopment plans, making it a working train station once again.

“We will continue to take feedback and refine the plan until we are satisfied that we have a plan that meets the needs of the community and is feasible to implement,” said Brandon Cooper, director of Ogden’s Community and Economic Development Department. A final master plan, he thinks, should be ready by the end of 2024.

Union Station, which houses railroad, car and firearms museums, sits adjacent to Historic 25th Street and is a focal point of city leaders’ plans to overhaul big chunks of the city center. Some have expressed concern they won’t have a say in the process, which has led to heated moments at times at Ogden City Council meetings over the past year, where many have voiced their reservations. But feedback has been coming at open houses, in surveys and more, Cooper said. A public meeting is set for Feb. 28 to get more input.

As for the two development concepts unveiled last month, both call for moving the museums out of the distinctive brick Union Station building and putting them in new structures to be built adjacent to the station. Both proposals — encompassing 29.6 acres, including 17 acres owned by the UTA and 12.6 acres more owned by Ogden — call for hotels to be built around Union Station.

Concept A calls for placement of museum space south of Union Station and a new hotel to the north at the southwest corner of 24th Street and Wall Avenue. Concept B puts the museum space north of Union Station and the hotel to the south of it. Both show wide-open areas for pedestrians, commercial development and high-density housing in the expanse along Wall Avenue between 22nd and 27th streets.

“If the museums move into a new building, the Union Station could become a public space, commercial space, restaurants, office, event space, etc.,” Cooper said. The FrontRunner would stop behind Union Station — owned by the city and site of regular cultural events — under each scenario.

UTA has been involved in the planning as part of its efforts to promote transit-oriented development around FrontRunner stops — that is, development that includes high-density housing, thus creating a pool of potential FrontRunner users. Centerville-based J. Fisher Cos., involved in other projects in Ogden, and Denver-based McWhinney Development are also partners in the effort.

Meantime, Ogden officials are preparing for a series of events in 2024 to mark the 100th anniversary of Union Station, completed on Sept. 28, 1924, and inaugurated on Nov. 22, 1924, according to Christy McBride. She’s the manager of Ogden’s Arts, Culture and Events Division.

City leaders and community members “have the unique opportunity to protect its future and write the next chapter” via the redevelopment initiative, she said.

The Union Station effort is big, but it’s not the only development initiative around Historic 25th Street, home to restaurants, bars and stores and one of Ogden’s key draws. The WonderBlock initiative on a swath along 26th Street just to the south of Historic 25th Street is another major development effort.

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Ogden fine-tuning redevelopment plans for Union Station and the 30 or so acres around it