Logan RDA approves purchase of blighted Main Street property

These vacant buildings in the 300 block of Main Street are slated for demolition in the wake of a property acquisition approval by the Logan Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday.

LOGAN – Acting in their capacity as the Logan Redevelopment Agency (RDA), the members of the Logan City Council approved the purchase of blighted property in the 300 block of Main St. to make way for a potential mixed-use development in that area.

City Economic Development Director Kirk Jensen said that slightly more than an acre of property will be acquired from the Needham Family Partnership for $1.25 million.

Because Logan already holds property on the corner of 300 North and Main streets, the purchase will give the city ownership of about a quarter of the block bordered by Main St. on the east, 400 North on the north, 100 West on the west and 300 North on the south.

The city’s plan calls for the vacant structures on the blighted property to be razed in the hope of attracting future commercial investment.

During a public hearing prior to the council’s vote, Logan resident Gail Yost questioned whether the acquisition of the blighted property was a good financial investment for the city.

Jensen replied that the blighted property will be the northern anchor of a proposed series of small redevelopment projects stretching from 100 South St. to nearly 400 North St. in order to widen the scope of Logan’s downtown revitalization effort.

Council member Jeannie F. Simmonds also defended the $1.25 million purchase price, noting that property owner Eugene Needham III had been asking $2 million for the property.

City resident Keegan Garrity, noting that Logan has failed to move forward on previous property acquisitions like the purchase of the Emporium building, recommended that the purchase be delayed until broader strategic plans for downtown redevelopment are finalized.

Mayor Holly Daines countered that revised plans for downtown revitalization have been developed and will be discussed at a meeting of the Historical Preservation Committee on Sept. 8. 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.

In 2019, Daines announced a redevelopment plan for the downtown area that 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 west of the Emporium.

In a letter sent to the business community on Aug. 17, Daines announced that the city had dropped plans for the proposed housing and parking terrace in favor of building a city plaza in the footprint of the Emporium building.

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

Simmonds praised the mayor’s revised plan. Rather than “putting all its eggs in one basket,” she emphasized, Logan is now working toward a series of “interesting projects” stretching for blocks within the downtown area.

Those proposed projects include a multi-family residential housing development on 100 South St., the city plaza in place of the Emporium and a new library on the northeast corner of 200 block of Main St.

Jensen said that the city’s acquisition of the blighted property should be completed by Oct. 31.

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3 Comments

  • Joseph Smith September 2, 2020 at 10:33 pm Reply

    I guess it’s good to have our Main Street land owned by someone other than the Needhams (the biggest slumlords in our valley). But, good hell, put together a plan and follow it. These public officials are spitting in the wind. Playing Monopoly with our money.

  • skeetr September 3, 2020 at 3:46 pm Reply

    Your mom is a blighted Main Street property

  • Deedee September 4, 2020 at 7:32 am Reply

    Good grief, another million for the Needham empire. That is a steep price to pay to own part of main street since it is mainly owned by Needhams. Hope the plans work out since downtown is already ugly with all the buildings going up like the hotel by the post office. Starting to look like downtown Manhatten.

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