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.
At its regular Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council voted unanimously to approve the issuance of up to $11 million in economic development notes to support the renovation of Bloomington’s public housing stock.
The bond issuance approved this week was for rehabbing two of the three Bloomington Housing Authority (BHA) properties—the Walnut Woods and Reverend Butler sites. BHA’s executive director, Amber Skoby, told the council that planning will start this summer for similar work on the third BHA site—the Crestmont Community.
“After that’s done, we won’t have any more public housing in Bloomington,” Skoby said.
Both questions related at least indirectly to the issue of the availability and affordability of housing. The council chambers were packed each night.
The following week, the council’s docket started off with another amendment related to the affordability of housing.
Sponsored by councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith, Amendment 08 changed the planned unit development (PUD) qualifying standards, by eliminating the option for a developer to donate a sum to the city’s housing development fund, instead of building income-restricted affordable units on site as a part of the project.
PUDs are projects that depart significantly enough from existing zoning standards that they require their own custom zoning, which means that unlike by-right projects, they have to win approval from the city council.
The UDO update builds a 15-percent affordable housing requirement into the qualifying standards for a PUD. So elimination of the payment-in-lieu option means that the only way a PUD could be approved without including affordable units as a part of the project is through waiver of the PUD qualifying standard.
Judged by the smattering of attendees at the following week’s meeting, and the council’s 8–0 vote, the amendment on payment-in-lieu (PIL) for PUDs was not controversial.
On Wednesday (July 31, 2019) Bloomington’s city council will consider the first reading of a rezoning request from the Collegiate Development Group to build an 820-bedroom student housing project on North Walnut Street at the site of the current Motel 6.
One point likely to be raised is the amount of money CDG has committed to pay into the city’s Housing Development Fund, in connection with the proposed project. It’s a fund that was created by unanimous city council vote on Nov. 16, 2016.
The amount of CDG’s commitment to the Housing Development Fund is not expressed as a fixed dollar amount. The amount depends on a percentage of the number of bedrooms that are built.