Big Bloomington student housing complex south of football stadium could be demolished to make way for bigger student housing complex

Aerial view from Monroe County GIS system of the Brownstone Terrace in spring 2020.
Aerial view from Monroe County GIS system of the Brownstone Terrace in spring 2020.

At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Bloomington’s plan commission will get a first look at a request from The Standard at Bloomington, LLC to rezone the property where Brownstone Terrace now stands, about three blocks southwest of the Indiana University Memorial football stadium.

If the rezoning—from planned unit development (PUD) to multi-use student housing (MS)—is eventually approved, The Standard would demolish several two-story buildings with a total of 120 apartments. In their place, The Standard would build a new student-oriented, residential development with 433 apartments and 1,072 bedrooms in five- and six-story buildings. A parking garage with 681 parking spaces would be built as a part of the development.

According to the plan commission’s meeting information packet, a possible timeline would be to start construction in spring 2022 and finish by summer 2024.

Bloomington’s planning staff conclusion reads in part: “While the project is large, the Department believes that this location is ideal for redevelopment and intensification because of its proximity to the IU campus and the characteristics of its surroundings.”

The staff recommendation is for the plan commission to hold a required second hearing on the rezoning request. If the plan commission eventually recommends the rezoning, then Bloomington’s city council would have 90 days to act on the recommendation.

The request that will be in front of the plan commission starting  on Monday is just for the rezoning, not for a site plan.

According to the information packet, a voluntary affordable housing commitment has been made by The Standard to make at least of 15 percent of the bedrooms workforce affordable housing units. If the rezoning were approved, an incentive that is a part of Bloomington’s newly-adopted unified development ordinance (UDO) would allow for the buildings in the project to be seven stories (no more than 87 feet) tall, instead of the ordinary six-stories allowed in the MS zoning district.

View to the southwest of the kind of development that the requested rezoning of Brownstone Terrace would allow.

But according the information packet, The Standard is making a commitment not to build taller than six stories.

MS zoning is newly defined in Bloomington’s UDO. If the requested rezoning for Brownstone Terrace were granted, it would be the first area of the city with that zoning designation.

The description of the MS district  reads in part: “The MS district is intended to accommodate an adequate supply and mix of housing opportunities for students in areas adjacent or within easy walking distance to campus and along nearby commercial corridors and with easy access to campus-serving public transit and to university-provided parking, such as the area located directly west, southwest, and northwest of Memorial Stadium.”

The description adds, “The district is intended to have a high percentage of student-oriented housing units, including larger developments that might not be permitted in other districts, but not totally exclusive of other types of residential housing units.”

According to online Monroe County property records, The Standard at Bloomington, LLC bought the property for $17.6 million on March 16 this year from Brownstone Owner, LLC.

An item from last month’s plan commission agenda that generated some community interest was the proposed rezoning of a warehouse just west of Switchyard Park to allow McDoel Business Center, LLC to tear down a portion of the warehouse to build 88 apartments and 21 single-family lots. That proposal has been put off until the October plan commission meeting.