Bloomington’s Trades District technology center takes small step forward

At its Monday meeting, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) gave a green light to the next incremental step in the construction of a technology center north of Bloomington’s city hall building, in the Trades District.

The Trades District is a certified technology park.

What the RDC approved was a revision to the project review form for a roughly $5.5-million technology center.

The center is expected to break ground in mid-2022 and be open in early- to mid-2024, according to Bloomington director of economic and sustainable development Alex Crowley.

The timing depends in part on some back-and-forth the city is having with the federal Economic Development administration (EDA), in connection with a $3.5 million grant awarded by the EDA for the center, Crowley wrote in a late-December email to The B Square.

Wednesday’s project form revision spells out $500,000 as the amount planned for the design services for the project. The firm that has done the initial conceptual and preliminary designs is Axis Architecture + Interiors. Continue reading “Bloomington’s Trades District technology center takes small step forward”

Plat for part of former IU hospital site gets OK to go in front of Bloomington plan commission

At its Monday meeting, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) signed off on a proposed plat for some of the land to be redeveloped as a part of the reuse project for the former IU Health hospital at 2nd and Rogers Streets.

A plat is a map that shows how the land is divided into lots.

What the RDC was approving was the submission of the plat to the city plan commission. Once the plan commission approves it, probably at its Feb. 7 meeting, the RDC will confirm the plat with another vote, according to the RDC’s meeting information packet.

The land in question is bounded by 1st and 2nd streets on the north and south. The boundaries to the east and west are formed by Morton and Rogers streets. Continue reading “Plat for part of former IU hospital site gets OK to go in front of Bloomington plan commission”

Multimodal update: Total right-of-way acquisition costs for 2 Bloomington paths drop by $1.4M

On Monday, two multimodal paths that make connections in the north part of town got a greenlight for their next phases: the acquisition of right-of-way from owners of property along the routes.

In this context, “multimodal” means the facility is engineered for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The approvals from the Bloomington redevelopment commission (RDC) for the next steps were uncontroversial for both projects: a northward extension of the existing B-Line Trail; and filling the gap between Monroe and Grant Streets in the multimodal path along the north side of 17th Street.

Construction for the projects won’t start until 2023.

Both approvals of right-of-way (ROW) acquisition came with a significant price drop compared to the previously estimated cost.

For the B-Line Trail extension, the drop in estimated cost to get control of the necessary ROW was from $897,000 down to $400,000, nearly half a million dollars.

For the 17th Street multimodal path, the drop in estimated ROW cost was even more—from $1,590,000 down to $650,000 for a difference of $940,000.

Between the two projects, that makes $1.4 million less in ROW costs, compared to the amount that was initially estimated. Continue reading “Multimodal update: Total right-of-way acquisition costs for 2 Bloomington paths drop by $1.4M”

A tour of Trades District parking structure: “I don’t wake up every morning wanting to build parking garages.”

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One of the two parking garages currently under construction in downtown Bloomington is close enough to completion that on Tuesday afternoon a dozen city insiders and media types got a tour.

Just north of city hall, the opening of the Trades District garage, with around 380 parking spaces, is on course for late March. But enough of the main elements are in place that it’s already unmistakable as a parking garage.

That contrasts with the replacement facility for the 4th Street deck, which is not due to come online until August of 2021. So it’s still coming out of the ground.

Of the 540 spaces to be constructed in the 4th Street replacement garage, 352 count as replacements for the spaces that were housed in the previous 4th Street structure. It was closed at the end of 2018 due to structural failure, and demolished last year.

Leading Tuesday’s tour were Bloomington’s director for economic and sustainable development, Alex Crowley, and Josh Scism, with Core Planning Strategies, the firm that’s managing both parking garage projects.

Scism focused the group’s attention on the structural elements: concrete, cabling, pumps and the like.

Crowley took the chance to review with the group the case for the city’s decision to build the garage, but hedged against any perceived enthusiasm for parking garages generally. “I don’t wake up every morning wanting to build parking garages,” Crowley said. Continue reading “A tour of Trades District parking structure: “I don’t wake up every morning wanting to build parking garages.””

Bloomington RDC greenlights parking control equipment for two new parking garages

On Monday night, action by Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) ensured that a contract is in place, with Evens Time, Inc., to provide parking control equipment for the two new parking garages currently under construction.

The view of the 4th Street garage, now under construction and scheduled for completion in August of 2021. The view is to the northwest, across Walnut Street, from the 3rd Street end of the block. Oct. 5, 2020 (Askins/Square Beacon)

One of the garages is a replacement facility for the 4th Street deck, which was determined to have structural issues and was demolished last year. The new garage is due to come online in August of 2021.

The other garage is being built in the Trades District to the west of city hall. It’s closer to completion and is expected to open in March of 2021.

The equipment covered in the roughly $335,000 contract includes barrier arms, magnetic coils, credit card exit terminals, barcode imaging kits and the like—the hardware necessary to admit and release parking patrons into the garages.

Before the RDC voted to approve the contract, RDC member Eric Sandweiss asked how the dollar amount for the contract stacks up against the budgeted amount for the equipment. City controller Jeff Underwood said $200,000 was budgeted for equipment for each garage, which put the contract with Evens Time, Inc. “well underneath” the budgeted figure. Continue reading “Bloomington RDC greenlights parking control equipment for two new parking garages”

Bloomington RDC OKs payment of property taxes connected to real estate deal for convention center expansion

On Monday night, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) approved the payment of some property taxes, on land it does not (yet) own.

The uncommon circumstance arose from the fact that when the RDC purchased the Bunger & Robertson property on College Avenue last year for $4,995,000, the deal did not include two parcels making up the north part of the parking lot that serves the building.

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.

But the contract also includes a requirement that the RDC pay the property taxes on the parcels.

It was payment of the property taxes that the RDC approved at its regular Monday night meeting. Continue reading “Bloomington RDC OKs payment of property taxes connected to real estate deal for convention center expansion”

99-year affordable housing deal to build about 60 new apartments at Bloomington’s Switchyard Park entrance

 

corrected aerial view 1730 Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 3.13.12 PM
The April 20, 2020 image was extracted from the Pictometry module of Monroe County’s property lookup system.

If all the financing falls into place, a planned five-story building with up to 60 new apartments and 3,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space will start welcoming new residents to the entrance of Bloomington’s Switchyard Park off Walnut Street sometime in the summer of 2022.

Part of the financial puzzle was solved for the developer, RealAmerica Development, LLC, when Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) approved a $1 purchase agreement for the real estate. The unanimous vote came at the RDC’s regular Monday meeting.

The RDC had bought the property a couple of years ago for $800,000, which was the former location of the Night Moves strip club.

Asked to comment on the disparity between the purchase price and the appraisal the RDC had obtained on the property, city controller Jeff Underwood said it was understood the RDC would not get back the fair market value on the land deal.

The proposal from RealAmerica might not have been the biggest fiscal proposal that the RDC had received through its request for information (RFI), Underwood said. But it had all the other attributes the city was looking for, he said.

What was Bloomington looking for? Affordable housing. For a long time and for a lot of people. Continue reading “99-year affordable housing deal to build about 60 new apartments at Bloomington’s Switchyard Park entrance”