The Bloomington Plan Commission has approved a redevelopment plan for the northeast corner of The College Mall. The proposal includes the new Wholefoods Market that is moving into the current Sears property. It also includes a Panera Bread outlet along 3rd Street and a B.J.’s Restaurant along College Mall Road. The owners of the mall, the Simon Property Group, had revised parts of the proposal at the request of Plan Commission members and staff. Eric Greulich, a city planner, outlines the main features of the development. He says that the new plan will incorporate a pedestrian network with a sidewalk and a tree plot sight connecting multiple areas.
In order to accommodate the additional buildings and make the mall more pedestrian friendly, the proposal will reduce the total number of parking spaces by about ten percent and add more greenery. At the Panera Bread site, Commission member Susan Fernandez voiced concern over pedestrians who would have to cross a drive-through lane to get to the customer entrance. Rod Bosper, a spokesman for the Simons group, responded that the new proposal was a safer proposition.
The Commission later approved the proposal. Also at the meeting, the commission heard a proposal to remove soil and grade a 28-acre site at the northeast corner of Fullerton Pike and state road 37. This intersection will become an interchange on the new Interstate 69. The Bill C. Brown Trust, the owner of the property, wants permission to do this work so it can sell the soil to the contractor building the interchange. Steve Smith, representing the owner, explained that the attendant leveling of the property would also make eventual commercial development more easy, as the owner anticipates. Commission member, Pat Williams, raised concerns about doing this grading work on a site with Karst features.
The Commission later approved the grading proposal unanimously.