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Firm Plans to Build Alongside Bloomington B-Line Trail

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Last week the Bloomington Plan Commission heard a request to build a four-story building alongside the downtown B-Line Trail, to include thirty-five high-end apartments and condos. The building would occupy about half of a city block, and it would also include some space for businesses on the first floor.

The owners currently run the private equity firm Elmore Companies, and they plan to include that business as well as others in the new building. City Planner Patrick Shay says the project needs eight different waivers from the city. One stems from the fact that the building would violate rules about building too close to the B-Line Trail.

“As you know, there’s a ten foot setback within our downtown commercial areas when it’s adjacent to the B-Line,” Shay said, “This is done to create outdoor spaces and to make sure we don’t get a canyon effect where the buildings don’t loom over the trail. We think that the petitioners project has done that some by their own design, such as a plaza that most buildings don’t have.”

The building would be located immediately west of the B-Line Trail, between Kirkwood Avenue and 6th Street. It would be as close as one foot away from the trail in some spots. But Shay says there won’t be what he called a canyon effect, because the other side of the trail is next to the street.

“You’re not going to have another building across from it, creating the canyon effect, because it’s parallel to the street, which is unique,” Shay said.

The building would also be taller than city code allows being about 50 feet tall, but Shay says certain parts would extend above 60 feet.

“Most of the building is below 50 feet, but they wanted some bigger

The top floor of the building includes three penthouses that will be occupied by the owners of the building. Greg McHenry, with the firm Milhaus Development, says the apartments in the building are being priced for the professional family or graduate student population.

“One bedroom would be about $1,000 to $1,500 with three bedrooms nearing $2,000 or above,” McHenry said.

Plan Commission member Chris Sturbaum praised the project, which he says required considerable work from the developers to meet the city’s expectations.

“This building has gone through considerable re-design, which the public doesn’t see,” Sturbaum said, “There was a lot of feedback from the planning department. I think that the building is starting to look really good, and the waivers are justified because so much effort has been made into a building that really fits the guidelines of the city. It’s a timeles building, something that won’t look outdated in a few years, and it will be something I think we can all look at for the rest of our lives, and that’s not a small accomplishment.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the variances for the project.

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