The redevelopment of the former IU Health hospital site at 2nd and Rogers streets took another step forward this past Monday.
At its regular monthly meeting, Bloomington’s plan commission approved the primary plat for the chunk of the project that is now called Hopewell West. It’s bounded by 2nd Street and 1st Street on the north and south. The eastern boundary is Rogers Street.
A plat is a detailed map that outlines the boundaries, dimensions, and other essential features of a specific land parcel.
IU Health has demolished all but two buildings as part of the purchase agreement with Bloomington’s redevelopment commission. The new plat for the land puts the two remaining buildings on their own lots—the parking garage with its 390 parking spaces, and the Kohr administration building, which the city is looking to redevelop as income-restricted housing.
The new plat also divides the block with three new segments of public streets—two running north-south and one running east-west. The plat also adds some new alleys.
The primary plat for Hopewell West had unanimous support from the seven of nine plan commissioners who were present. (Brad Wisler and Ellen Rodkey were absent.)
The new plat does not need approval from the Bloomington city council. But the plat depends on one approval that is under the control of the city council—the vacation of two alleys in the northeast corner of the block.
That means sometime in the coming weeks, the council can expect to see an alley vacation on its agenda.
On Friday, the city issued a news release announcing that there will be groundbreaking for the Hopewell project on July 21, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.
The groundbreaking will signal the infrastructure work on the Phase 1 East portion of the site, which lies east of Rogers street.
Further in the future is the start of infrastructure work on the Hopewell West portion of the site, which was subject to Monday’s primary plan approval by Bloomington’s plan commission on Monday.
Next Friday’s groundbreaking will take place in the middle of the Phase 1 East part of the redevelopment project. The platting of Hopewell Phase 1 East was not straightforward. Bloomington’s the city council balked at the requested alley vacations and asked the planning staff to come back with a plan for replacing the vacated alleys with new alleys, instead of just eliminating them.
On the second try in front of the city council, about a year ago, in June 2022, the council OK’d the alley vacations for Phase 1 East. Later in the year, in December, the council also approved a new zoning overlay, which the council had asked planning staff to create, called the Transformer Redevelopment Overlay (TRO).
The primary plat for Hopewell West, approved by the plan commission this past Monday, does not comply with all of the requirements in the TRO. But as a part of the plan commission’s Monday action, those requirements were waived.
As one example, the plan commission waived the TRO requirement that all the lots must be served by alleys. In the primary plat for Hopewell West, there are four “greenspace lots” along the West University Street greenway in the plat and one lot west of Fairview Street that lack alley access.
The staff report by city zoning planner Gabriel Holbrow’s described the requested wavier for alley access: “The intended use of these lots, for public park space and stormwater drainage, reduces the need for vehicular alley access in comparison to other development lots.” Holbrow’s memo continues, “For pedestrian access, the plat provides pedestrian easements to the four greenspace lots opposite the street frontage.”
At Monday’s meeting, Holbrow told the plan commission that most of the features of the plat do comply with all the unified development ordinance (UDO)—he was just focusing on those elements that required a waiver.
Holbrow put it like this, “This is full of code-compliant things. They’re doing a lot of things that are exactly what the code, the UDO in general and also the Transform Redevelopment Overlay is asking for and the Master Plan asking for.” [Hopewell Master Plan]
All the new street segments for the Hopewell West primary plat align in some way to existing nearby streets, even if they do not make for continuous streets in all three cases.
From the south, Fairview Street currently ends in a T intersection with 1st Street. The plat shows Fairview Street continuing through the block to 2nd Street. That makes for a T intersection with 2nd Street right at Building Trades Park. One block north of the park, Fairview Street continues north.
The new north-south Jackson Street segment that cuts through the Hopewell West plat aligns with, but does not connect to, the existing Jackson Street to the north, which heads northward from a T intersection with Smith Avenue.
The east-west University Street segment that cuts through the Hopewell West plat aligns with, but does not connect to, the existing University Street to the east, which runs eastward from a T intersection with Lincoln Street.
[Added around 2:3o p.m. on July 16, 2o23. These drone shots were taken on July 16 by Geoff McKim.]