Logan City announces potential property swap with the Emporium

Logan City Councilman Gene Needham has proposed a potential land swap, trading properties he owns to the city in exchange for the Emporium, as long as Logan City will include $300,000 in Redevelopment Agency Funding.

“That money that would go to the Needham Family Partnership would be provided under two conditions,” Logan City Mayor Craig Petersen told the council on Tuesday. “The first is that the Needhams invest $2 in renovation of the properties for every $1 of RDA support received.

“And secondly that the money received would be provided as reimbursement. Once the expenses are incurred, the expenses would be reimbursed.”

The properties the Needham Family Partnership is offering are the V-1 Grizzly Station on the corner of 100 West 100 South and what was previously the Franz Bakery building, plus four properties Needham owns at the corner of 300 North Main.

Petersen said the city’s attempts to get the Emporium properties developed over the last few years have fallen short, and that developers have indicated that incentives would be necessary for them to move forward on the project.

“The Emporium location has struggled financially since it was renovated in the mid-1970s, particularly since the Coppermill left a few years ago,” said Petersen when explaining why a cash incentive is part of the deal. “We’ve struggled to have anything in there that makes any kind of contribution to downtown. At the same time, if you were to look at the key location in downtown it’s probably the Emporium properties.”

Petersen referred to the swap as a “path to possible improvement to downtown.”

Petersen reminded the council that property transactions with a council member are not prohibited and that Needham would need to recuse himself from any future discussions about the properties until his term expires on January 1, 2018.

“The Emporium location has struggled financially since it was renovated in the mid-1970s, particularly since the Coppermill left a few years ago,” said Petersen when explaining why a cash incentive is part of the deal. “We’ve struggled to have anything in there that makes any kind of contribution to downtown. At the same time, if you were to look at the key location in downtown it’s probably the Emporium properties.”

Petersen stressed that this land swap is only a proposal and both Logan City and the Needham family are doing due diligence. Furthermore, he suggested that citizens should look past who the property owner is and consider, instead, whether or not the transaction provides a clear benefit to the community.

According to Petersen, those benefits include a path to move forward on the new, preferred location for a library; it would renovate and stimulate commercial activity in the Emporium; the potential to take down blighted buildings on 300 North Main would be an improvement to Logan; the city would have the opportunity to recoup up to $1.4 million with the sale of property located on Main Street between 300 and 400 North for a commercial project; and, Logan City would have an opportunity to add approximately 31 parking stalls on the 300 North block.

Petersen said an environmental assessment will be happening soon on both the V1 Station site and the properties on 300 North. A public hearing on the land trade would take place on November 7 and a public hearing on the proposed RDA funds would take place on November 21.

Ultimately, he said, any decision on this proposal will be determined by the city council. Costs for the demolition of properties and what all the properties’ appraised values are will be presented at Logan City Council’s next meeting.

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