City Council greets Center Block Plaza plan with open arms

City officials unveiled plans for the redevelopment of the Center Block area of downtown Logan at Tuesday's regular meeting of the Logan City Council.

LOGAN – City officials’ tentative plans for the redevelopment of the Center Block area of downtown Logan received a warm welcome Tuesday from members of the Logan City Council.

This redevelopment proposal is…at the heart of so much that is going on here in downtown Logan,” according to Kirk Jensen, the city’s economic development director.

Jensen briefed members of the city council using a digital map that highlighted a massive facelift now underway in the city’s downtown area.

The so-called Center Block is bounded by Center St. on the south, Main St. on the east, 100 North on the north and 100 West to the west.

To the north of that location, ongoing redevelopment efforts include the proposed new city library at 255 North Main Street, a potential commercial mixed-use development in the 300 block of North Main and the soon-to-begin construction of an In-N-Out Burger franchise on the corner of 400 North and Main streets.

South of the Center Block, two residential complexes are being constructed on 100 South and 100 East streets.

Jensen explained that the city’s plans for the Center Block itself, “begin with taking down existing buildings…at 47, 55 and 67 North Main St. and then building the Center Block Plaza and associated improvements that go along with that.”

Those amenities will include a stage, a splash-pad and an administration building at the western edge of the property and a portable ice rink, he added.

Jensen listed the cost of the redevelopment proposal at more than $4.3 million, including about $1.3 million for the demolition of the now-vacant Emporium Building and adjacent structures to the north; about $2.1 million for construction of the public plaza; around $400,000 for a portable ice rink; and about $440,000 for construction of an outdoor stage and an administration building.

City officials are also requesting that the city council members, acting their capacity as the Logan Redevelopment Agency, approve another $1.6 for the remodeling of structures adjacent to the proposal plaza to the south at 41 and 45 North Main Street.

After those renovations are complete, Mayor Holly Daines said that the city plans to sell those properties to commercial enterprises.

“Regarding the sale of the Plaza 45 buildings,” Daines explained, “we’ve had a lot of interest in the past month or so now that people are finally convinced the plaza project is going to go forward.

“We’re trying to develop some sort of public process for that sale, so there would be an open bidding process during which people would have to present their ideas for what to do with this space. We have some things that we think would really enhance the plaza and we certainly want that type of usage in those buildings. So both the price we’re offered and the most attractive usage of those buildings will be considered in making that sale.“

Jensen explained that city officials decided to plan for a portable ice rink at the plaza rather than a permanent installation to achieve “significant” cost savings and “help to stretch our RDA dollars a little further.”

In response to a question from council member Amy Anderson, Jensen said that the RDA’s remaining funds will be reduced to about $1 million when and if the planned allocations of nearly $6 million for the Center Block Plaza are made. That figure does not include the value of the structures that the city now plans to sell at 41 and 45 North Main Street.

The city council members reviewed proposed Resolutions 21-11 and 21-12 advancing the Center Block Plaza project as workshop discussions only on Tuesday. While no final vote on those proposals was held, the council members indicated their general support for the downtown redevelopment project.

The redevelopment plan must still pass muster by the city’s Historic Preservation Committee, which banned demolition of the Emporium Building in 2019.

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  • ironsmith March 3, 2021 at 9:28 am Reply

    how is this “plaza” going to be markedly different from an outdoor version of the mall that is already failing? except perhaps it was purchased with my tax dollars, will be built with my tax dollars, and will be maintained with my tax dollars. god bless democracy where the government can take what i earn do what they want without my consent.

    • Don March 24, 2021 at 10:05 am Reply

      It’s totally different than the mall. It’s an outdoor plaza, where they can hold concerts, kids can play in the water when it’s hot, and ice skate in the winter. The mall is a bunch of stores. I don’t see anything where the two are similar. It may or may not be a good idea, but it a public resource that has nothing to do with the mall you’re comparing it to.

  • L Allen March 4, 2021 at 1:36 pm Reply

    It will be a nice addition to the block… however

    The Ice staking rink does not make sense for $440,000. If you rent skates for $5 a pair that would take 88,000 rentals to cover the cost of the rink only. If the rink is open for 6 months out of the year and open 6 days a week that would be 156 days. If you rented 50 pairs per day, it would take 11-1/4 years to recoup the $440K. That is just one expense there will be insurance cost, labor to set up and break down the rink every year, electracy cost, the attendant to rent the skates, sharpening the skates and replacement of old/damaged skates, etc.

    Does anybody really think this stuff thru?

    • Don March 24, 2021 at 10:15 am Reply

      Who said its purpose was to make money or pay for itself? Skate rentals are probably only expected to cover the costs of the skates themselves, not the whole rink. This will be much better, because the rink in Merlin Olsen park often can’t be built if the weather isn’t just right, but this will make it consistently available. It’s not like pickleball courts or the dog park or the Christmas lights on the trees downtown are there to make money. The parks department has a budget and employees that are already being paid, who will set up and break down the rink.

  • Blayne March 6, 2021 at 7:38 pm Reply

    I don’t understand why everyone on the council is suddenly in favor of this plan. It looks like the last plan, which most opposed. This will look bad to suddenly drop a bunch of new structures and architecture in the middle of a very old, dilapidated block. I say turn it over to Cache Valley Bank and let them restore downtown. They seem to have a knack for making old buildings look nice.

    • Don March 24, 2021 at 10:01 am Reply

      The basic plaza piece is the same, other than it is one or two less buildings being demolished, and they are not building apartments and a parking terrace.

  • W Lee March 10, 2021 at 2:46 pm Reply

    Where the one thing that is really needed, the parking terrace?

    • Don March 24, 2021 at 10:00 am Reply

      The parking terrace isn’t needed, because it doesn’t include the apartments.

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