Bloomington to seek plan commission OK for parking garage design without extra land

cropped 2020-02-17 parking garage IMG_7310
The view eastward along 4th Street from the northwest corner of the lot where the 4th Street parking garage previously stood. Feb. 17, 2020. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

Bloomington is still reserving the right to appeal its unsuccessful eminent domain action to acquire additional land to replace the 352-space parking garage that stood downtown at the corner of 4th and Walnut streets.

But in three weeks, at the plan commission’s regular monthly meeting on March 9, Bloomington will present a design for a replacement garage that does not include the additional land, according to a news release issued by the city late Monday. Continue reading “Bloomington to seek plan commission OK for parking garage design without extra land”

Analysis: After lower court ruling against Bloomington, when does 4th Street parking garage get rebuilt?

cropped 12-25-2019 IMG_4528
Looking south on Dec. 25, 2019, from 4th Street across the empty lot where the city’s 352-space parking garage previously stood. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

Christmas morning dawned bright over the now empty lot at 4th and Walnut streets where a parking garage once stood. It offered 352 spaces for people to park their cars, then go to work, shop, or take care of errands in the downtown area.

The demolition started in earnest in late September and was done by early November.

After last Friday’s court ruling, the now smoothed-over dirt lot will probably remain empty for at least a few more months.

Likely to be completed ahead of the 4th Street parking structure replacement is a new 379-space city parking garage for the Trades District. In a press release issued on Dec. 24 the city announced that preparations for construction would start this Friday. It’s scheduled to be completed about a year from now.

For the 4th Street structure, the city of Bloomington is still sorting out its options. A Monroe County circuit court judge ruled on Friday in favor of the property owner in the city’s eminent domain lawsuit. Continue reading “Analysis: After lower court ruling against Bloomington, when does 4th Street parking garage get rebuilt?”

Judge says Bloomington cannot take JuanSells.com property to build a parking garage with ground-floor retail

cropped 12-20-2019 222 IMG_3646
The view to the northwest at the corner of Walnut and 3rd Streets around 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2019, shortly after the court’s ruling came in the eminent domain lawsuit, subject of which was the JuanSells.com building. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

In her ruling issued on Dec. 20, Holly Harvey, a judge in the Monroe Circuit Court, has found that the city of Bloomington cannot acquire the JuanSells.com property at 222 S. Walnut through eminent domain. Continue reading “Judge says Bloomington cannot take JuanSells.com property to build a parking garage with ground-floor retail”

Amended objections now filed in Bloomington’s effort to take 222 Hats property to build replacement parking garage

On Friday, Aug. 16, the landowner filed an amended version of objections with the Monroe Circuit Court, in an attempt to prevent the City of Bloomington from acquiring the 222 Hats property at the south end of the block of Walnut Street between 4th and 3rd streets.

222 Hats Pictometry Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 3.39.56 PM
Image from the Monroe County GIS system, Pictometry tool. Vintage is 2017.

The City of Bloomington wants to take the  property through an eminent domain process so that it can extend the footprint of its planned replacement parking structure to cover the full length of the block from 4th to 3rd streets.

A month earlier, an initial version of the objections was filed, because it was not clear at the time if the court was going to grant a motion for an extension of the deadline. The court did grant the extension.

A review by The Beacon of both documents revealed a few differences between the first and second versions. A new paragraph was added on the topic of the definition of “public use.” The concept of “public use” is key, because property taken through eminent domain is supposed to be for a public use. The first objection filed by the landowner argues that the taking would not be for a public use, because of the ground floor retail space that is planned for the replacement parking garage.

Another  amendment to the document was stylistic—one sentence was edited to conform with Mark Twain’s legendary advice, “If you see an adverb, kill it.”

None of the changes altered of the number or kind of objections that were already filed. Continue reading “Amended objections now filed in Bloomington’s effort to take 222 Hats property to build replacement parking garage”

Bloomington, Monroe County both move on separate land acquisitions as part of planned expansion of convention center

Some important pieces of a downtown development puzzle were slotted into place this week, as the City of Bloomington and Monroe County both made progress on separate real estate deals.

ISO For Pub New Improved R Map McPheeters PropertyYYYxxxx
The red-circled area highlighted on the map shows the area of downtown Bloomington where a an expansion of the Monroe County Convention Center is planned. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The transactions are expected to factor into a planned expansion of the county’s convention center, located at 3rd Street and College Avenue. Neither deal decides the direction of the expansion—at this point only westward appears to have been ruled out. The city wants to expand north. The county is not committed to that direction.

At the Monroe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday morning, the three-member board approved a $500,000 deal to purchase a couple of parcels making up the parking lot of the NAPA Auto Parts store at Walnut and 3rd streets.

Two days earlier, the city closed on a nearly $5-million deal to buy most of the block north of the existing convention center. The block is bounded south-to-north by 3rd and 4th streets and east-to-west by College Avenue and the B-Line Trail. Deputy Mayor Mick Renneisen told The Beacon the purchase price was $4,995,000. Continue reading “Bloomington, Monroe County both move on separate land acquisitions as part of planned expansion of convention center”