OGDEN, Utah -- A historic Ogden building is getting a face lift, but the renovation isn’t just about updating the building: It’s about giving the less fortunate a place to call home while boosting up a once rundown area of town.
From plywood-covered windows, to construction tape and rubble, look at the former Marion Hotel in downtown Ogden and you’ll find sure signs of work underway.
"The exterior of the building is getting a new façade: new paint, new windows, new awnings," said building co-owner Bonnie Kier-Herrick.
She and her sister, Kimi Kier-Noar, bought the 105-year-old historic brick building in June. Since then, they’ve embarked on a $3.6 million makeover.
Their parents owned it for more than 20 years. Jim and Norma Kier transformed the Marion from a hotel into low-income housing in 1993.
"We just wanted to continue with their legacy," Kier-Herrick explained of the sisters’ mission after making the purchase.
All 86 units will become brand new. Terry Baldwin lives in one of them.
"I was staying out on the streets," he said, describing where he lived before the Marion.
A disabled veteran with no place to go, Kier-Herrick and Kier-Noar took Terry in. They even hired him to work the front desk.
"I'm more active now because I'm working in the same building I live in," he said of how he’s changed in the year and a half he’s lived there.
Along with remodeling the building, the sisters also renamed it to Sean Herrick Apartments, in honor of Kier-Herrick’s stepson.
Sean passed away in 2014, at 26 years old.
Kier-Herrick said he liked to help the sisters serve a free Thanksgiving meal to Marion Hotel residents. She explained he was always community-service oriented.
“We just wanted to honor him," she said.
To keep his spirit going, they’re also continuing a tradition started by their parents--offering some of the building’s first-floor storefronts rent-free.
"We have Ogden City Police hub,” she said, pointing to one section of building. “We also have Catholic Community Services," she explained, gesturing to another.
The city council understands what this community-driven building renovation means for Ogden.
"It's nice to see somebody investing in the buildings that are part of the fabric of this street," council member Amy Wicks said, talking about the historic 25th Street.
It’s a street that went through troubled times, before a push to revive it.
"Back at one point in time you didn't go to 25th Street," she said. But, “it's slowly changed, building by building."
And that, she said, has changed the public’s perception of 25th. A perception that continues to evolve as even more buildings, like Sean Herrick Apartments, undergo a major revamp.
"We hope everybody is going to be happy with the finished product," Kier-Noar said.
But both women know this renovation is more than just giving the building new life, it’s about providing residents with a second chance.
"The Kier family,” Baldwin said, addressing Bonnie and Kimi, “Thank you for giving me an opportunity.”