How does a local bar improve surrounding neighborhoods? It’s a story the DABC isn’t likely to tell, but as it turns out, alcohol sales may be just what the central district of Ogden needed.
Utah native, Jared Allen, owner of Restoration Realty and co-owner of Alleged, a bar on Ogden’s notorious 25th Street, has a unique business model. The bar is funding his restoration projects in Ogden’s historic neighborhoods.
Jared became a property manager by happenstance when a job took him and his wife, Mindy, to St. Louis. Jared has an advertising art degree from the University of Utah and the St. Louis transfer came when the ad agency he’d been with here in Utah fell apart after the dot com bubble burst. They rented their house instead of selling, and became landlords for the first time. But St. Louis wasn’t for them – they missed the mountains too much and moved back to the Rockies within 10 months of their initial move. They landed in Denver and it was there that Jared started buying up properties with more enthusiasm.
Four years later, in 2010, they bought a house mere blocks from downtown Ogden. How did he convince Mindy to move there? “I took her on a couple driving tours and a few walk-throughs of the historic homes and mansions. It was the architecture that sold her.”
But something was still missing. “We had loved some of the bars and nightlife in Denver; we just hadn’t found anything here that really clicked for us.” When the two buildings at 201 and 205 25th Street came up together at auction, they both knew what they wanted to make happen.
Of those two buildings, one has become Alleged a three-story bar on Historic 25th featuring a rooftop bar and a lower-level dance floor. The Helena, the adjacent building acquired in the auction, is currently undergoing renovations and will feature a restaurant on the main level and upscale ski lodging on the upper floors.
Both of these projects required work they never foresaw, and stumbling blocks they hadn’t anticipated, acquiring a liquor license for Alleged being a big part of that story. It took an address change and an alternate door front on Lincoln Avenue instead of 25th Street to finally get the license and open for paying customers.
“I have this willingness to jump into things often without knowing what I’m getting myself into. We did it with our first house, and it was the same with the bar in some ways.”
Five years into their Ogden investments and with a year under their belt at the bar, Jared, along with his brother Mike, some of his other family and a few investor friends, has restored more than sixty homes in the inner-city Ogden area. Of those, only one has been a traditional “flip” where they bought the house, renovated and immediately sold it.
How they got into commercial properties isn’t really a matter of jumping some invisible real estate boundary. “It came up on auction and we saw an opportunity.” They now use the profits at Alleged to further their efforts in restoring Ogden, whether that means commercial or residential. “If it’s in the CBD (central business district) or East Central District and has interesting architecture, we’re interested.”
Jared himself wears many hats. He’s a graphic designer, a professional skier, a clothing designer, a mixed-medium artist. “In all that I do, I’m funding this dream to restore downtown.”
Most Ogden residents are aware of the historic building’s restoration. Alleged is now a bright beacon on a once dilapidated street. But a majority of folks are unaware of the historic preservation awards their work has earned, or how a cocktail or two is funding this greater dream in which Ogden residents can be proud.
Historic town restoration takes a whole community working together. Everyone plays a part whether it’s stopping in for a drink at Alleged, being inspired to brainstorm a project, or participating in community action programs to grow and attract new business.