‘Preferred’ Union Station upgrade plan emerges; Ogden redevelopment plans coalescing

Mar 1, 2024, 4:42 PM

Ogden Union Station plans...

Ogden officials unveiled the “preferred” upgrade plan for Union Station at an open house on Wednesday. An oversized rendering showing the plans was on the ground so participants could walk around it. (Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

(Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

OGDEN — A more refined proposal for the redevelopment of the area around Ogden’s iconic Union Station has emerged, another step forward in major changes to the core area of the city.

“It’s a massive uplift for the community,” Mayor Ben Nadolski said, referencing the varied changes afoot in the area.

The “preferred” option for redevelopment of the 30-acre expanse encompassing Union Station and the land to the north and south of it (still subject to change and final review), was presented to the public Wednesday. It calls for a new 115,000-square-foot facility to house the railroad, automobile and Browning firearms museums now inside Union Station and an elevated track for the FrontRunner commuter train, which would use the station as a pick-up and drop-off point. Mixed-use development — housing, office and retail space — would fill out the acreage north and south of Union Station.

“This is a generational opportunity,” said Damen Burnham, Ogden’s economic development manager. The proposed changes to Union Station and environs, he maintains, have the potential to reestablish the hustle and bustle of the train station of the early 20th century, when Ogden was a key U.S. railroad hub.

 25th Street Ogden

Historic 25th Street in Ogden, photographed Thursday, would be redesigned and revamped under a trio of proposals put forward last month by city officials. The proposed change is part of a range of plans in Ogden’s core area. (Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

The Union Station plans, though — taking shape in partnership with the Utah Transit Authority, owner of some of the land around the station — aren’t the only changes in the works.

City leaders, representatives from Centerville-based developer J. Fisher Cos., and others gathered on Feb. 9, to break ground on the first element of the 5.9-acre WonderBlock development, located two long blocks east of Union Station off the south side of Historic 25th Street. Plans call for 354 apartments, office space, retail space, a “boutique” hotel, a pedestrian plaza, and parking space spread in several buildings to be built in the expanse.

What’s more, city officials are proposing change to Historic 25th Street just east of Union Station, Ogden’s main dining and retail corridor, to make it more pedestrian friendly. The proposals, publicly unveiled last month, would variously entail widening sidewalks, adding trees, and scaling back street-side parking in the section between Wall Avenue and 25th Street.

The varied changes — which also include a move from free to paid parking in Ogden’s core area — are contemplated in the city’s Make Ogden plan, a blueprint for change in the area over 25 or so years.

Here are more details of the varied elements of the plans:

  • The proposed new museum would sit south of Union Station, freeing up space in that facility for commercial and other “historical” uses, Burnham said.
  • A hotel is envisioned north of Union Station while walkways and plazas are envisioned all along the oblong expanse, mixed amid commercial and office space and residential development.
  • A range of consultants, including McWhinney Real Estate Investment and Development Co., will help further fine-tune the plans around Union Station and pinpoint market potential.
  • The Union Station redevelopment has been the focus of sharp controversy at times, and Nadolski emphasized that they incorporate input and feedback from the public and still face continued review. “I’m not saying it’s all perfect and done,” he said.
  • The east parking garage in the WonderBlock development, the first element of those plans, should be done in 18 months, by around mid-2025. The entire 5.9-acre expanse should be complete in three years, Burnham estimates.
  • The city plans to implement pay kiosks and other elements of paid parking starting later this year, according to Burnham, with actual paid parking in some areas to start next year.
  • Three visions have been put forward to revamp the Historic 25th Street The “festival street” concept would emphasize the varied festivals and other events typically held along the corridor. The “green corridor” concept puts a focus on adding greenery to the section and “creating pockets of rest and relaxation.” The “trolley street” concept calls for a corridor in the middle of the street that a trolley would traverse, according to visioning documents.

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‘Preferred’ Union Station upgrade plan emerges; Ogden redevelopment plans coalescing