Viewed as a cultural anchor not only to Ogden, but all of Northern Utah, Ogden City recently approved the purchase of the land underneath and surrounding historic Union Station. The Community and Economic Development (CED) team pursued this idea believing this building and the land will be a catalyst for both job growth and downtown vibrancy. Brandon Cooper, director of Community and Economic Development, said, “The Union Station building is one of the most vital assets in the community. It acts as the center of our downtown. We are seeking to enhance it.”
The newly acquired land, including the tracks running southwest of Union Station, is just over eight acres and cost $5.5 million. This space will play a key role as Ogden City enacts the “Make Ogden” Master Plan, a 25-year vision to guide growth throughout the city but will also continue the tradition of bringing tourism to the downtown area. A Project Charter written by both CED and members of the Union Station Foundation states, “Union Station will offer a broad range of uses including office, restaurant, retail, hospitality, meeting/event, and various other commercial uses with associated parking. These ancillary uses will be centered around the museum anchor, which purpose is to act as the nucleus of the site and provide an engaging and inclusive art, cultural, and educational visitor experience.”
These commercial developments at Union Station, WonderBlock, and improvements to Electric Alley will spur economic growth, create high-quality jobs, and entice more people to visit and live in Ogden. This will allow Union Station museums to become economically sustainable. “We don’t often talk about the continued importance of economic development in the support of tourism and as a driver of the visitor and local economy. Studies have indicated and results show economic development matters and makes a difference to visitor’s decision making. The vibrance that economic opportunity creates impacts our residence quality of life, our communities through its investment, and the resulting sense of place and opportunity to experience work, live, and play,” says Sara Toliver, president of Visit Ogden.
Although Ogden City has not codified any developmental plans to Union Station or the property surrounding it, just after the unanimous vote to purchase the property was cast, Councilman Ben Nadolski said, “We’ve taken an important step to saving Union Station.” You can see the prospective plans for Union Station and other details of the Make Ogden plan at Make Ogden | Ogden, UT (ogdencity.com)