Bloomington to pay $500,000 less for western part of city hall building

In mid-July, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) gave initial approval to a $9.25 million deal to purchase CFC’s portion of the Showers building—which houses city hall in the eastern part of the building, in addition to CFC offices in the western part.

But that price has now dropped by a half million dollars.

At its regular meeting on Monday, the RDC approved an amendment to the purchase agreement that knocks the price down to $8.75 million. The address of the building is 320 W. 8th St.

Bloomington was able to negotiate a price reduction, according to a memo provided in the RDC’s meeting information packet, “[b]ased on renovation cost estimates produced by the consultants assisting with due diligence.”

During the due diligence phase for the purchase agreement, the city has brought in architects and public safety construction experts, to estimate the cost to convert the space to a police and fire administrative headquarters.

The plan would consolidate in the same building as city hall two additional facilities: the police headquarters on 3rd Street; and the fire administrative headquarters at 4th and Lincoln streets. Continue reading “Bloomington to pay $500,000 less for western part of city hall building”

Winslow Road resurfacing gets some discussion by Bloomington RDC, but no vote on contract

The yellow area is Bloomington’s consolidated TIF district. The purple line is the original scope of the Winslow Road project all the way to High Street. That scope has been dialed back to Allendale Drive.

An item related to a Winslow Road resurfacing project—which was postponed by Bloomington’s redevelopment commission from its meeting two weeks ago—still did not get a vote by the RDC on Monday.

The resolution that appeared Monday’s meeting agenda did not need a vote, according to assistant city attorney Larry Allen, because the construction contracts were not yet ready to be approved. And the contract approvals were not yet ready because the grant from INDOT’s Community Crossings matching grant program has not yet been awarded.

But public works director Adam Wason was able to respond to questions from RDC members about the project. The item had been postponed from two weeks ago, because Wason was not able to attend that meeting.

On Monday, Allen also sketched out the legal department’s position on why TIF (tax increment finance) funds are allowed to be spent on a project like Winslow Road resurfacing. The project entails milling down the surface of the road by a couple of inches, laying new asphalt and re-striping the pavement.

Winslow Road cuts east-west across the southern part of Bloomington. Continue reading “Winslow Road resurfacing gets some discussion by Bloomington RDC, but no vote on contract”

Winslow Road repaving gets initial $500K nod from Bloomington RDC

Winslow Road, which cuts east-west across the southern part of Bloomington, has received a nod from the city’s redevelopment commission for a resurfacing project that is supposed to be completed sometime in 2023.

The preliminary engineering work for the project is hoped to start this fall and last through the spring, with construction to begin in 2023.

The RDC’s initial approval, which came at its regular Tuesday meeting,  established the work as an RDC project, with a kind of placeholder cost of $500,000. But the action by the five-member RDC did not approve the expenditure of any funds.

The scope of the project goes from Walnut Street on the west to High Street to the east.

Public works director Adam Wason responded to an emailed B Square question by describing the planned work as a “standard milling/paving/lane marking project.” Continue reading “Winslow Road repaving gets initial $500K nod from Bloomington RDC”

Project to rehab old Showers kiln building gets re-fired with Bloomington RDC approval

An adaptive reuse project for the old Showers Company furniture factory kiln, which sits in the Trades District north of city hall, got a formal re-start on Monday.

The re-firing of the project came at the regular meeting of Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC), which shifted some dates for the purchase agreement of the building. A group called The Kiln Collective has agreed to buy the building in a $50,000 deal.

According to Don Weiler of Bailey & Weiler Design/Build, who’s the builder on the project, the rehab of the building could start next year. The kiln sits to the north of The Mill, which is a coworking space, launched in late 2018 in the former Showers Company’s dimension mill.

The kiln is just south of 11th Street and the Upland Brewing Company.

Two and a half years ago, in early 2020, the transfer of ownership had been essentially a done deal, complete with a ceremonial handover of the keys.  But a couple of months after the ceremony the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the project was put on hold.

As Bloomington’s director for economic and sustainable development Alex Crowley put it, “We put it on ice for a while.” Crowley added, “Functionally, what we’re trying to accomplish today is just clean up the dates, get this thing back in motion.” Continue reading “Project to rehab old Showers kiln building gets re-fired with Bloomington RDC approval”

Showers building purchase update: Bloomington RDC OKs $68K in due diligence contracts

The city of Bloomington’s hoped-for purchase of the western portion of the Showers building, where city hall is located, took an incremental step forward on Monday.

In connection with due diligence work in advance of the $9.25-million purchase from CFC Properties,  Bloomington’s RDC has approved three contracts totaling $67,800. The unanimous approvals came at the RDC’s regular meeting on Monday.

Approved at Monday’s meeting were: a contract with BCA Environmental for environmental analysis ($2,800); a contract with Tabor/Bruce Architecture & Design for investigation of the building’s mechanical systems ($15,000); and a contract with Springpoint Architects for a public safety evaluation ($50,000). Continue reading “Showers building purchase update: Bloomington RDC OKs $68K in due diligence contracts”

Bloomington high-speed internet deal with Meridiam gets final OK, other players have head start

Getting a final approval on Tuesday was a deal between Bloomington and Paris-based Meridiam, to build a fiber-to-the-home open-access network offering symmetric 1-Gigabit service to at least 85 percent of the city.

Provisional Meridiam network. Blue: arial network | Red: underground. (City of Bloomington Digital Underground: Purple) The image links to a dynamic version of the map.

Under the master development agreement, which has now been signed,  Meridiam would also offer symmetric 250-Megabit service to low-income residents at zero net cost.

Green-lighted on Tuesday by Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) was an expenditure agreement that reimburses to Meridiam, over a 20-year period, 95 percent of the roughly $10.9 million in personal property taxes on conduit and fiber, which Meridiam will pay during that time. The legal tool that is to be used is a tax increment finance (TIF) area.

Also approved on Tuesday, by Bloomington’s board of public works, was a master easement agreement that is supposed to make more expedient Meridiam’s access to Bloomington’s public right-of-way for conduit installation. Hoosier Networks is a company Meridiam has formed to do business in Indiana, so that’s the entity named in the agreement.

The board of public works also approved the use by Hoosier Networks of the roughly 17 miles of unused conduit, known as the Bloomington Digital Underground, in connection with building and operating its network.

In addition to the tax reimbursement, the RDC confirmed at its Tuesday meeting the declaratory resolution  that it had first approved in early June. The resolution declares an economic development area, designating it as a TIF (tax increment finance) area, approves an economic development plan, and finds that the public health and welfare will be benefited by the plan.

While the vote by the RDC on the tax reimbursement was 4–0, the tally was just 3–1 on the confirmation of the declaratory resolution. Dissenting was Randy Cassady. Continue reading “Bloomington high-speed internet deal with Meridiam gets final OK, other players have head start”

First phase demolition for Hopewell: Bloomington picks Renascent for $589K job

By the end of summer, all but three of the buildings on a central Bloomington block, near the former IU Health hospital site, are set to be demolished.

It’s the area that has been named the Hopewell neighborhood.

On Tuesday evening, Bloomington’s board of public works, as well as the city’s redevelopment commission (RDC), approved the $588,755 contract with Indianapolis-based Renascent, Inc. for the demolition work.

It’s a separate demolition project from the one already underway on the west end of the former IU Health hospital site. IU Health has to demolish all the structures on the main site, except for the parking garage and the Kohr administration building, before transferring ownership to the city of Bloomington.

It’s part of a $6.5-million real estate deal. In early December last year,  IU Health moved to its new facility on the east side of town, on the SR 45/46 bypass.

The focus of the demolition work approved on Tuesday is Phase 1 East in the city’s master plan for redevelopment of the former hospital site.  It’s the block bounded by 1st and 2nd streets on the north and south, and Morton and Rogers on the east and west. The demolition contract approved on Tuesday involves property already under the city’s control. Continue reading “First phase demolition for Hopewell: Bloomington picks Renascent for $589K job”

3 OKs in 3 days: Bloomington gets needed nods for high-speed internet fiber deal with Meridiam

Bloomington mayor John Hamilton (right) addresses the Bloomington city council on June 15, 2022.

At its Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council took a couple of steps, on 8–1 votes, as a part of a potential deal to get high-speed internet connections built for most of the city.

The pending agreement would be inked between Paris-based Meridiam and Bloomington.

Under the arrangement, Meridiam would construct a fiber-to-the-home open-access network offering symmetric 1-Gigabit service. Meridiam would offer symmetric 250-Megabit service to low-income residents at zero net cost.

The arrangement would add another competitor to Bloomington’s market by giving an as-yet-unnamed internet service provider (ISP) exclusive access to the new network for at least five years. The initial ISP would also have exclusive access to the roughly 17 miles of conduit and fiber—the Bloomington Digital Underground—which has already been constructed by the city.

The agreement has been analyzed by the Indiana Cable & Broadband Association as “unfairly favoring one provider over others,”  which ICBA says conflicts with the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. ICBA’s legal objections got no mention during deliberations by Bloomington public officials this week.

Wednesday was the third day in a row that three different public bodies took required steps for the deal to go through. All of the votes were unanimous except for those by the city council. Continue reading “3 OKs in 3 days: Bloomington gets needed nods for high-speed internet fiber deal with Meridiam”

Two down, one to go: High-speed internet deal gets OK from Bloomington EDC

On Tuesday, Bloomington’s economic development commission (EDC) helped a potential deal between Paris-based Meridiam and the city of Bloomington take another step forward.

Under the arrangement, Meridiam would construct a fiber-to-the-home open-access network offering symmetric 1-Gigabit service. Meridiam would offer symmetric 250-Megabit service to low-income residents at zero net cost.

On a 4–0 vote, the EDC approved a resolution that among other things green-lighted an  expenditure agreement that reimburses to Meridiam 95 percent of the roughly $10.9 million in personal property taxes that Meridiam will pay over a 20-year period.

The personal property taxes would be paid on the company’s conduit and fiber. The mechanism the city is using to reimburse Meridiam’s taxes is a tax increment finance (TIF) allocation area, not a tax abatement, even if the effect is basically the same.

The TIF area is exactly the physical space where the conduit and fiber is installed, which has an appearance that some have characterized as web-like. That’s what gives rise to the moniker “spider TIF.”

For Tuesday’s decision, the five-member EDC was missing Matt Flaherty. He is the city council’s representative on the EDC. But Flaherty will have a say when the city council considers two related questions on Wednesday.

That’s because a third step for the high-speed internet deal is teed up for Bloomington’s city council at its Wednesday meeting. Continue reading “Two down, one to go: High-speed internet deal gets OK from Bloomington EDC”

One down, two to go: Fiber-to-home deal passes muster with Bloomington plan commission

Bloomington plan commission (June 13, 2022)

A deal between a Paris-based infrastructure company and the city of Bloomington, to construct a fiber-to-the-home open-access network offering symmetric 1-Gigabit service, took a step forward Monday evening.

On a unanimous vote, the city’s plan commission found that an already-approved redevelopment commission (RDC) resolution and its associated economic development plan—on which the Bloomington-Meridiam fiber deal depends—is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan.

That’s the first of three approvals the city’s administration is hoping to get this week for a tax increment finance (TIF) arrangement, that would see about $10.9 million in personal property taxes reimbursed to Meridiam over a 20-year period. That’s down from the estimated $14.4 million that had been previously negotiated for a 25-year period.

Next up will be an approval from the (economic development commission (EDC)), which the city administration is hoping to get at the EDC’s 4 p.m. Tuesday meeting.

That could be followed by an approval at this Wednesday’s city council meeting.

Last week, the city’s RDC took the first step towards all the approvals necessary when it passed the required declaratory resolution.

On Monday, the administration’s case for conformity with the city’s comprehensive plan was presented to the plan commission by development services manager Jackie Scanlan. Continue reading “One down, two to go: Fiber-to-home deal passes muster with Bloomington plan commission”