Salt Lake City - Northern Metro Hub of Ogden - The Junction - Announcing The Ashton Place, Midtown Village Hotel & Water Park
OREM — A $20 million indoor water park could augment a 14-story hotel proposed for construction at The Junction development downtown, an Orem businessman said Saturday.
The 70,000-square-foot, four-story water park would be built on about 1.6 acres at the northeast corner of 23rd Street and Washington Boulevard, said Larry Myler, president of Midtown Development.
The park would be connected by a skywalk to the proposed $100 million Midtown Village at The Junction hotel that Midtown Development proposes to build across the street.
The hotel that would anchor the project is designed in an art deco style.
Myler unveiled plans for the water park and hotel with space for retail businesses to city council members, who on Saturday toured another mixed-use project Midtown Development is building in Orem. City council members Jessie Garcia and Amy Wicks did not attend the tour. Garcia and Wicks said they had scheduling conflicts and were unable to attend.
Midtown Development is interested in building in Ogden because the city is shedding its dowdy image and is becoming vibrant, Myler said. “We like communities that are turning around,” he said.
City Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske said she’s impressed by the water park and hotel proposal and believes the development may bolster Ogden’s reputation as a recreation hub.
“Ogden is a great place,” she said. “We just need to be able to sell it (the city’s new image to the public).”
Sara Toliver, president and chief executive officer of Ogden/Weber Convention Visitors Bureau, said it’s difficult to know how the proposed hotel might impact local convention business until details about the project are finalized.
City Council Vice Chairman Doug Stephens said he is looking forward to learning more about the water park and hotel proposal.
“We need to look at the project to … see if we as a community can justify it,” he said. “If we can it will be a good project.”
If the city’s Redevelopment Agency board, made up of the city council, approves a development agreement, work on the water park and hotel could begin later this year and conclude in 2010, Myler said. The RDA is scheduled to review a proposed development agreement Jan. 22 and could vote on the document Feb. 5.
The water park could include four slides, a restaurant and several high-adventure features and would be built in cooperation with Wave Development LLC of Milwaukee, said Myler.
Wave Development has been instrumental in building water parks at hotels and resorts in seven states, primarily in the East and Midwest, according to its Website at www.wavedevelopment.net
The Ogden water park would likely increase occupancy at Midtown Village at The Junction, said David Rasmussen, a director for marketing and business development with Midtown Development.
“The value of these water parks is that when they are put in connection with a hotel, the nightly occupancy rate goes up 20 percent,” he told the city council on Saturday. “It makes for a more successful hotel.”
The water park would be among four that Midtown Development plans to build in Utah, said Myler, who declined to disclose the other locations, but one project is in the development stage in Clearfield. Midtown Development doesn’t plan to seek any financial incentives from Ogden to build the water park, he said.
The proposed development agreement calls for Midtown Development to purchase property at The Junction from the city for the appraised value of $1.7 million for the hotel, Dave Harmer, the city’s community and economic development director, has said.
Payment for the land would be deferred until the company receives a certificate of occupancy for the hotel.
In addition, the city would provide Midtown Development with a $1.2 million, interest-free loan to help cover construction costs. That loan would be repaid after the occupancy certificate is issued, Harmer has said. The city would also create a special assessment area for the hotel to help fund parking facilities.
About half of the 300 residential units at Midtown Village at The Junction would be condominiums, and the remainder would be conventional hotel rooms, said Rob Storey, another director for business and marketing for Midtown Development. Rates for hotel rooms would likely range from $159 to $185 a night, he said.
A flagship company hasn’t been selected to manage the hotel, Myler said.
Purchase prices for two- and three-bedroom condo units at the hotel would range from $190,000 to $650,000, Myler said.
Because of Ogden’s high water table, underground parking at the hotel won’t likely be possible, Myler said. Instead parking would probably occupy at least a couple of floors of the hotel property.
Myler also said he is hopeful an urban gondola that has been on the drawing board for years will be built to enhance the hotel and Ogden’s downtown.
The proposed development agreement grants Midtown Development exclusive rights to a potential urban gondola site serving The Junction, Harmer has said. The city won’t be involved in funding the gondola, according to Mayor Matthew Godfrey.