Logan announces reduced downtown revival plan

LOGAN – Logan Mayor Holly Daines has thrown in the towel on her controversial plan to revitalize the so-called Center Block in downtown Logan.

The city now plans to fund multiple smaller projects through its Logan Redevelopment Agency (RDA) to widen the scope of downtown revitalization.

“We have decided to drop the proposed housing and parking terrace in the Center Block,” Daines announced in a message sent Monday to local business owners and members of the Downtown Alliance. “We will now focus on building a city plaza in the footprint of the Emporium buildings.”

The mayor explained that the proposed city plaza is intended to facilitate performances, outdoor activities, interactive features, dining, public art and walking within the downtown area.

“By scaling back on the proposed Center Block project, we will have the capacity to incentivize other proposed projects which will be reviewed in the future by (city council members acting as) the redevelopment agency board,” she added.

Daines’ message said those additional proposals will include a housing development on 100 South St. and acquisition of property at 300 North Main St. from the Needham Family Partnership for a future mixed use development.

In 2019, Daines announced her original 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 was opposed by a coalition of local business leaders who claim joint ownership of the parking lot in the heart of the Center Block.

Details of the revised plans for the Emporium will be discussed as a workshop item at the next meeting of the Historical Preservation Committee (HPC) at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 8 in the City Council Chambers at 290 North, 100 West St. Although no decisions will be made at that time, Daines invited all interested parties to attend that meeting or watch it live on the city’s Facebook page.

The agenda for the Sept. 8 HPC meeting will be posted on the city’s website on Monday, Aug. 24.

The approval of the members of the HPC will be crucial for the revised plans. Although Logan owns the Emporium and adjacent buildings, demolition of those structures has been blocked until now by an HPC ruling.

City officials are also inviting input on their revised plans from the public and business community via phone calls, e-mail, individual appointments or group meetings.

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2 Comments

  • SpaceMagi August 18, 2020 at 5:08 pm Reply

    The complaints about parking and predictions that the previous proposal would somehow hurt businesses were totally unfounded and it’s unfortunate that the NIMBYs have succeeded in kneecapping this project. The Emporium Building is an holdover of ugly 1960s/1970s architecture, not even close to the historic quality of the older buildings on Main Street. Logan has the potential for a great downtown, with some great historic buildings and potential for walkability, but like many other downtowns in America it lost its prominence due to mid-20th century automobile-centric planning and sprawl. Now it’s mostly just a novelty that you admire as you enjoy your daily gridlock, with a few standout businesses that you barely visit once in awhile.

    Building more housing and a public plaza downtown would bring more people, vitality, and investment downtown, not less.

  • SpaceMagi August 18, 2020 at 5:12 pm Reply

    The complaints about parking and predictions that the previous proposal would somehow hurt businesses were totally unfounded and it’s unfortunate that the NIMBYs have succeeded in kneecapping this project. The Emporium Building is an holdover of ugly 1960s/1970s architecture, not even close to the historic quality of the older buildings on Main Street. Logan has the potential for a great downtown, with some great historic buildings and potential for walkability, but like many other downtowns in America it lost its prominence due to mid-20th century automobile-centric planning and sprawl. Now it’s mostly just a novelty that you admire as you enjoy your daily gridlock, with a few standout businesses that you barely visit once-in-awhile.

    Building more housing and a public plaza downtown would bring more people, vitality, and investment downtown, not less.

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