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After being turned down once before, a local attorney now has received permission to build a new 4-story apartment building in downtown Bloomington. David Ferguson, through his company Moonburn LLC, got approval from the Bloomington Plan Commission on November 3rd. The building will be on North Morton Street, near the intersection with 10th Street. It will have 33 apartments, each with one bedroom. Jim Roach, from city planning, said the Commission voted against a slightly altered version of the same project in July, which stated that due to height violation of the building, it was not to be built at that time.
The building is still planned to be two feet taller than the 50-foot height normally allowed. But Roach said the city has allowed other buildings in the area to violate that rule.
Ferguson’s building would be just inches away the Morton Mansions. The new structure did require a waiver from the city’s requirement to reserve half of the first floor for businesses. Plans only include 11 percent of the floor to be commercial space. Ferguson said there simply isn’t enough room to fulfill the requirement.
Olympus Properties manages residential buildings throughout Bloomington, including the Mercury on Morton complex nearby. Ferguson founded that company in 2002 along with other partners. The city’s planning staff agreed with Ferguson about the tradeoff between commercial space and parking. Tom Micuda, the city’s director of planning and transportation, said the city might consider doing away with requiring every downtown apartment building to have room for businesses.
Commission members said they were mostly satisfied with the changes to the project. But Commission member Chris Sturbaum said he’s not ready to dramatically change the requirements for commercial space.
Six Commission members voted in favor of the new apartment building. Commission member Chris Smith abstained.