City council member opposes downtown property moves

Logan City Council member Jess Bradfield went on record Tuesday as opposing property acquisitions in downtown Logan that are needed to implement Mayor Holly Daines' controversial revitalization project.

LOGAN – A Logan City official has confirmed that ongoing property acquisitions are the first steps toward the implementation of Mayor Holly Daines’ controversial plan to revitalize the so-called Center Block in downtown Logan.

That admission from City Council member Jess Bradfield came on Tuesday as the council members were meeting as the Logan Redevelopment Agency to approve the transfer of $920,000 to acquire two properties within the Center Block.

Prior to that vote, Bradfield said that he opposed moving forward with Daines’ vision for the downtown area since the project could not be completed without the demolition of the Emporium building. That crucial element of the mayor’s redevelopment plan has been blocked by a September 2019 ruling of the city’s Historical Preservation Committee.

Despite Bradfield’s reservations, the transfer of the RDA funds was approved by a vote of three to one, with Bradfield voting “Nay” and council member Mark Anderson abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

Bradfield’s comments confirmed the suspicions of local business owner Vint Larsen that the city plans to move ahead with Daines’ project despite the Historical Preservation Committee ruling and a threatened lawsuit from the business community.

The so-called Center Block is an area bounded on the east by Main St., on the north by 100 North St., on the west by 100 West St. and on the south by Center St. A significant portion of that square block area is an interior parking lot that serves the businesses on the surrounding streets.

Kirk Jensen, the city’s economic development director, publicly discussed the planned property acquisitions for the first time on July 7 while addressing the city council members.

The first of those properties is a parcel that includes the Auto Value of Logan building along 100 West St. and some adjacent parking area owned by Larsen Family Holdings, LLC. The cost of the property will be $650,000 and the transfer of ownership is expected to be finalized by the end of July.

The other parcel that the city wants to acquire is some nearby parking area north of Anderson’s Seed and Garden, owned by the Mark & Ronnette Anderson Trust. Jensen said that deal is still being negotiated. Mark Anderson is a member of the Logan City Council.

The City of Logan owns the Emporium, a now-vacant multi-story retail/restaurant structure that dominates the Center Block, and other nearby structures.

In 2019, Daines announced a redevelopment plan for the Center Block that had been crafted with Dan Lofgren of Cowboy Partners, a property development firm based in Salt Lake City. That plan called for the demolition of the Emporium building and adjacent structures to make way for a public plaza, a stage, residential apartments and a parking structure.

The mayor’s plan is opposed by a coalition of local business leaders who claim joint ownership of the parking lot in the heart of the Center Block.

Larsen explains that the parking lot was jointly purchased by the owners of surrounding businesses in 1969, then deeded to the city on condition that the property be used strictly for parking “in perpetuity.” That agreement between the city and business owners was legally reaffirmed in 1984.

The properties that the city is now acquiring are portions of the parking lot not covered in that 50-year-old agreement, Larsen adds.

City Attorney Kimber Housely has said publicly that Logan will litigate if necessary to gain control of the rest of the parking lot to erect its proposed multi-story apartment complex and parking structure.

Larsen suspects, however, that it is more likely that the city will try to seize the property through eminent domain.

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2 Comments

  • S July 22, 2020 at 9:38 am Reply

    This is disgusting!. Corrupt… scandalous….when you do something and just lawyer up and tell people to shut up and offer rediculous amounts of money for property…..GROSS

  • Ruth July 22, 2020 at 9:33 pm Reply

    This is yet another example of Logan City officials doing exactly what they want to do, no matter who it hurts, or if it makes sense, or even if it is legal. Logan is already full of projects that cost a lot of money and were not necessary. Why is it that all we can elect are people who want to put up a new building to be their legacy? Why can’t we keep some of the historical flavor of our city, and why can’t we keep the parking that we have downtown instead of putting up a building where the parking was? A big part of the reason that Logan businesses have a hard time making it is that there is no parking.

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