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”

Trades District garage lines up software company as commercial space tenant: Exclaimer

The first tenant of the commercial space that was built on the ground floor of the new 350-space Trades District parking garage will be a software company called Exclaimer.

Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) approved a draft lease for the 4,059-square-foot space at its regular Monday evening meeting.

The commercial space to be leased fronts South Rogers Street. The Trades District is the area north of the city hall and county government building on Morton Street, bounded on the north by 11th Street.

On Monday, Bloomington director of economic and sustainable development Alex Crowley described the deal to RDC members as essentially a four-year lease with the option to exit the agreement at the end of year three—as long as Exclaimer covers half the rent that they would have paid through year four.

The $19 per square foot that Exclaimer will be paying at the beginning of the agreement amounts to $6,426 a month, or about $77,000 per year. Part of the deal includes a “tenant improvement allowance” of up to $55 per square foot, which totals $223,245. Continue reading “Trades District garage lines up software company as commercial space tenant: Exclaimer”

Bloomington OKs $400K for engineering, design of planned new technology center

At its regular meeting on Monday, Bloomington’s five-member redevelopment commission approved a $403,082 contract with Axis Architecture for engineering services and design of the planned new technology in the Trades District.

The technology center is a joint project of the city’s economic and sustainable development (ESD) department and the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation. The site is now a vacant lot, north of the old Showers Company building that houses the Monroe County government center, as well as city hall.

It is just south of The Mill, which is a co-working space that has been developed as an adaptive reuse of another old Showers building. The tenants of the planned new technology center could be drawn from companies at The Mill that progress beyond the start-up phase.

An “information session” about the technology center is being hosted at The Mill on March 31. Continue reading “Bloomington OKs $400K for engineering, design of planned new technology center”

Technology center for Trades District gets OK from Bloomington plan commission

Getting unanimous approval from Bloomington’s plan commission on Monday night was the site plan for a three-story, 21,000-square-foot office building in the Trades District.

The joint project of the city’s economic and sustainable development (ESD) department and the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation is the planned home of a technology center that won a $3.5 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration.

The total cost of the project is around $5.5 million. Bloomington’s redevelopment commission is using tax increment finance (TIF) revenue to make the required local match of the federal dollars.

The site is now a vacant lot,  north of the old Showers Company building that houses the Monroe County government center, as well as city hall. It is just south of The Mill, which is a co-working space that has been developed as an adaptive reuse of another old Showers building. Continue reading “Technology center for Trades District gets OK from Bloomington plan commission”

Potential buyer passes for now on Showers admin building in Bloomington’s Trades District

The old Showers Company administration building at 10th and Morton will not be purchased by Fine Tune from Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC)—at least not under an agreement inked last year.

An accord approved by the RDC in mid-August of 2021 had set up the prospect for the deal. There was no requirement in the agreement that a purchase be completed.

If the deal had come to fruition, Fine Tune would have purchased the building and parking lot to the north for $400,000, after a period to assess the feasibility of converting the building to serve as its corporate headquarters.

At the start of the Feb. 21 meeting of the five-member RDC, commissioner David Walter got confirmation from Bloomington’s director of economic and sustainable development, Alex Crowley, that Fine Tune had decided not to proceed. Continue reading “Potential buyer passes for now on Showers admin building in Bloomington’s Trades District”

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”

Installations at park, parking garages part of a busy end of year for Bloomington’s public art program

Towards dusk on Tuesday, visible progress was being made on the installation of “Urban Fabric,” a piece of public art that will wrap the new 4th Street parking garage in downtown Bloomington.

The public artwork for another recently completed city parking garage, located in the Trades District just north of city hall, will get a formal dedication this Friday.

Adding to public art activity in Bloomington in recent weeks was the dedication of “North Star/Hoosier Line” on Friday two weeks ago. It was installed on the east and west walls of the restrooms, north of the splash pad across the B-Line from the pavilion.

Continue reading “Installations at park, parking garages part of a busy end of year for Bloomington’s public art program”

Agreement OK’d by Bloomington RDC on sale of Showers administration building

This image, looking west at the old Showers administration building, dated May 2019, is from Google’s Street View. The image links to Street View.

The administration building at 10th and Morton is the third of three old Showers Company buildings in Bloomington’s Trades District, north of city hall, that now has a possible future as an adaptive reuse project.

A process for closing a deal on the building was put in place through an agreement that was approved at Monday’s meeting of the Bloomington redevelopment commission (RDC).

The RDC’s agreement for an eventual $400,000 purchase of the administration building, and the parking lot just to the north, is with 601 North Morton, LLC. That’s the entity that has been set up by Rich Ham and Matt Smith. Ham and Smith are CEO and CFO, respectively, of a company called Fine Tune.

The old dimension mill and the kiln building are two other old Showers Company properties that the RDC has put at least on a path for redevelopment.

The dimension mill is already home to The Mill, a co-working space that launched in late 2018. A transaction was completed for the kiln building in early 2020. But the plans of the Kiln Collective have been paused by the pandemic, which has caused dramatic increases in construction prices.

Fine Tune describes itself as “a niche expense management company focused on a small handful of particularly burdensome ‘nuisance’ expenses.” Examples of nuisance expenses are services for uniforms, waste disposal, and pest control.

The building is planned to serve as the corporate headquarters for Fine Tune.

The image, looking east, is dated April 2020. It’s from the Pictometry module of Monroe County’s online property lookup system. Annotation by The B Square.

Continue reading “Agreement OK’d by Bloomington RDC on sale of Showers administration building”

Trades District gateway art gets OK from Bloomington RDC

No later than the end of 2021, and probably earlier, a new sculpture will appear at the intersection of 10th and Madison streets, as a gateway to the area known as the Trades District.

At its Monday meeting, Bloomington’s five-member redevelopment commission approved the roughly $90,000 contract with Indianapolis firm Ignition Arts, LLC, to fabricate and install the artwork, which was designed by Stefan Reiss.

Reiss, who’s based in Berlin, will be paid a $12,500 artist’s fee, according to Bloomington’s assistant director for the arts Sean Starowitz.

The funds are made available through the city’s Percentage for Art ordinance.  The local law says that one percent of the budget for certain city capital projects has to include an amount that is at least one percent of the city’s contribution to the estimated construction costs. Continue reading “Trades District gateway art gets OK from Bloomington RDC”

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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.””