Approved by Bloomington’s plan commission on Monday night was a site plan for a project that would demolish the old Colonial Crest apartment complex, now called The Arch, on the north side of town.
In the place of 206 apartments and 393 bedrooms, spread across 15 separate two-story buildings, the developer plans to construct four residential buildings with a total of 241 apartments and 675 bedrooms, according to a letter from Smith Design Group, which is the consultant for the Aspen TOPCO II Acquisitions project.
That nets roughly 270 more bedrooms on the same site.
According to Bloomington senior zoning planner Eric Greulich, the big difference between the version approved by the plan commission on Monday, compared to what was approved three months ago, is the lack of any new public roads proposed inside the project site.
If demolition and construction go according to plan, by July of 2023 the former Kmart on Bloomington’s east side will be transformed into a multi-family and student-oriented housing development.
Bloomington’s plan commission gave the project a 7–0 vote of approval at its regular Monday meeting. Monday’s hearing came after one in May that was originally supposed to be continued in June, but was delayed until this week.
But the proposal would demolish the vacant Kmart building and excavate the parking lot, for construction of a 340-unit multi-family and student-oriented housing development, offering a total of 906 bedrooms.
The layout of the project would include five residential buildings, one leasing and amenity building, and a 385-space parking structure. The site will include another 100 surface parking spaces, and 57 parallel parking spaces, for a total of 542 parking spaces.
The student-oriented apartments would be constructed in the three buildings on the northern part of the site. The multi-family housing would be constructed in the two buildings on the southern part of the site.
The units will all be rental, none for sale as condos, and will be offered at the prevailing market rental rate in Bloomington. So the project will not include any “affordable units” defined in terms of HUD standards for area median income (AMI).
Tuesday night’s presentation by the city’s development services manager, Jackie Scanlan, included an introduction to the online tools that city planners have built for the project.
Also on Tuesday, Scanlan gave an overview of the mapping project, which comes after last year’s update to the text of the city’s unified development ordinance (UDO).
That text update included the creation of some new zoning districts, like R4 (Residential Urban) and MS (Mixed-Use Student Housing), which don’t yet appear anywhere on the zoning map of the city.
A developer has already requested that the Brownstone Terrace, south of the Indiana University football stadium, be rezoned to MS, so that it can be replaced with a larger student-oriented housing development. That request has been recommended for approval by the plan commission and will appear on an upcoming city council agenda.
During Thursday’s presentation, which focussed on the MS zoning district, Scanlan said it’s important to proactively rezone parcels to MS, based on the city’s comprehensive plan, and not just respond in a reactive way to petition requests.
On Monday night, a project that would replace the predominantly student-rented Brownstone Terrace with a larger student-oriented development called The Standard got a unanimous recommendation of approval from Bloomington’s plan commission.
The specific request was for a rezoning. That’s why it now requires approval by Bloomington’s city council.
The rezoning request is from planned unit development (PUD) to a new zoning classification in the recently adopted unified development ordinance (UDO), which is multi-use student housing (MS).
At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Bloomington’s plan commission will get a first look at a request from The Standard at Bloomington, LLC to rezone the property where Brownstone Terrace now stands, about three blocks southwest of the Indiana University Memorial football stadium.
If the rezoning—from planned unit development (PUD) to multi-use student housing (MS)—is eventually approved, The Standard would demolish several two-story buildings with a total of 120 apartments. In their place, The Standard would build a new student-oriented, residential development with 433 apartments and 1,072 bedrooms in five- and six-story buildings. A parking garage with 681 parking spaces would be built as a part of the development.
Bloomington’s plan commission voted 9–0 Monday night to recommend adoption of a revised version of the city’s unified development ordinance (UDO) to the city council. That starts a 10-day clock ticking for the commission’s action to be certified. Once certified, the city council has 90-days to act on the commission’s recommendation.
The 19 hours and 9 minutes worth of hearings held by the commission, starting in late August, were on occasion punctuated by contentious remarks delivered from the public podium. Particular points of controversy were duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes in core neighborhoods, as well as accessory dwelling units.
The recommended UDO that the city council will take up, probably starting in mid-October, makes accessory dwelling units conditional uses. An amendment approved by the planning commission in the last couple of weeks changed them from accessory uses to conditional uses.
By late last week, the Bloomington City Council was getting ready to return to its normal meeting routine after a summer hiatus. Councilmembers last met in regular session on June 12; their next regular meeting falls on the last day of July.
Based on some conversation at a work session last Friday, they’re thinking about how to set up the calendar for at least three topics they’ll be handling soon: a proposed 820-bedroom student housing development on North Walnut at the current Motel 6 site; possible tweaks to a still-pending ordinance that would regulate shared-use electric scooters; and some amendments to the new parking ordinance.
And based on conversation at a work session held by the Monroe County Council on Tuesday evening, Bloomington’s city council could in the next couple months be called on to participate in a four-way meeting about the proposed convention center expansion.