Rendering of proposed building from the corner of Kirkwood Avenue and Washington Street.
Panorama of existing site, looking north from Kirkwood Avenue (Oct. 20, 2022)
Democrat Emily Salzmann
Mike Rouker, Bloomington city attorney
Developer Randy Lloyd (Oct. 20, 2022).
Attorney Christine Bartlett (Oct. 20, 2022).
Monroe County circuit court judge Emily Salzmann has reversed last year’s decision by Bloomington’s board of zoning (BZA) to deny a variance for a proposed development on what is now a surface parking lot west of the CVS building on Kirkwood Avenue.
Developer Randy Lloyd’s Cutters Kirkwood 123 had proposed a four-story building with 15 owner-occupied condos on the site, which would have included just 19 percent of the ground floor as commercial space.
That’s why the BZA was asked to grant a variance from a requirement in Bloomington’s downtown overlay—that at least 50 percent of the ground floor square footage be designed for non-residential and non-parking uses.
The order from Salzmann, which was issued on Tuesday, reverses the BZA’s denial. Tuesday’s order is based on a determination that the city’s legal department and planning staff gave BZA members incorrect advice about the factors that BZA members could consider, in their decision about whether to grant a variance.
So Tuesday’s order returns the question to the BZA “to be heard at their next meeting and decided on at that meeting.”
It was a move that put a significant sum behind the city’s preferred site for the planned expansion of the Monroe Convention Center. But it came with at least some amount of controversy for what was supposed to be a city-county collaboration.
For some of the actors involved in convention center planning at the time, it had been an open question: Should the expansion be located north or south of the existing convention center at 3rd Street and College Avenue? The city’s purchase appeared to be an attempt to settle that question.
The price tag was just under the $5-million statutory threshold that would have required the city council’s approval. And the deal still did not put the whole block under the city’s control.
The city was still negotiating with a different property owner for the remaining 0.4 acres, which consists of about 45 surface parking spaces.
Now, Bloomington’s RDC is set to buy the remaining part of the block.
That portion of the parking lot has different owners. Based on a count using aerial images from the Monroe County GIS database, the two parcels include around 45 parking spaces.
The RDC is still looking to buy the parking lot parcels, so they can be used for the Monroe County convention center expansion project. That’s why the RDC bought the Bunger & Roberston real estate.
The convention center expansion is currently paused due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For now, the RDC is leasing the two parking lot parcels from the owners. The deal approved by the RDC in May includes a contractual agreement that the RDC pay $3,500 a month, for an annual total of $42,000.