IU Poplars: Bloomington board closes streets so public stands clear when walls come crumblin’ down

“You have a beautiful neighborhood that we want to assist in improving ever further by the removal of the IU Poplars Building.”

That’s a line from a July 12 heads-up letter that was hand-delivered by Renascent, Inc. to neighbors of the Indiana University Poplars Building on 7th Street, west of campus.

Renascent is the company that has been contracted to do the demolition work, which has already started.

The hand-delivered letter warned residents of upcoming closures of Grant Street, west of the building, and Dunn Street, east of the building.

The sentiment in Renascent’s letter reflects the lack of affection for the building, which was constructed in 1964 as a hotel, purchased by Indiana University in 1972, and eventually converted to office space.

The 150,000-square-foot facility was doomed by the IU board of trustees about a year ago, at its Aug. 13, 2021 meeting. According to the board’s meeting minutes, “The building’s significant accumulated deferred maintenance makes the cost of renovation not feasible.” For now, the intent is to leave the space vacant.

The parking garage to the south of the building, which was built in 1987, will be left in place.

The demolition of the lower single-story part of the structure has already started. The work to take down the upper floors of the 8-story building will begin next month. Even though that work on the upper levels won’t require Renascent to put equipment in the public right-of-way, the company wants to close streets and sidewalks to protect the public.

On Tuesday, Renascent got approval from Bloomington’s board of public works to close Grant Street on the west side of the building for the first two weeks of August—from Aug. 1 to Aug. 13. The board also approved the closure of Dunn Street from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9, 2022.

Renascent is the same company that is currently working on the demolition of the former IU Health hospital facility at 2nd and Rogers Streets.

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