Bloomington, Indiana – At its regular Monday meeting, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) voted unanimously to buy a vacant lot at the southeast corner of Rogers and 2nd streets for not more than $350,000.

Economic and sustainable development director Alex Crowley told RDC members the lot was not owned by IU Health, and would not be a part of the $6.5 million deal to transfer the hospital site to the city of Bloomington in 2021. That’s when IU Health moves to its new facility on the SR 45/46 bypass.

The parcel’s owner since 1900 has been C & S, Inc. according to Monroe County’s online property records.

The idea, Crowley said, is to “round out” the block of land the city will be acquiring with the IU Health land deal.

That brings the total price tag for the RDC’s hospital redevelopment project to $13 million.

Part of the project cost is $410,000 for a master planner to put a site plan together. That contract, which was OK’d in early March, went to Chicago firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

SOM gave a presentation of its final draft to the RDC at its Monday meeting. That presentation will be reprised at the Bloomington city council’s regular meeting this Wednesday.

The deal for the southeast corner of 2nd and Rogers will depend on final due diligence, which include an environmental evaluation, based on remarks by Alex Crowley at Monday’s RDC meeting.

The city got two appraisals for the roughly half-acre sized parcel, Crowley told the RDC. One was for $205,000. The other appraisal was for $375,000. Crowley called those “very, very different takes” on the value of the property, a situation which he said can sometimes be hard to manage. The negotiation with the seller put the final price towards the higher end, at $350,000.

RDC member David Walker asked city controller Jeff Underwood, “Do we have the money?” Underwood confirmed the RDC does have the money to pay for the land. The RDC will draw on TIF (tax increment finance) funds for the deal.

RDC member Nick Kappas questioned whether now is the right strategic time to buy the land. Crowley told Kappas, “From a timing perspective, it is our estimation that this acquisition can and should be done now in order to facilitate what really will stem from the master planning process.”

Based on the master plan for the hospital site that the RDC had been presented just before considering the purchase of the parcel, Crowley said, the 2nd and Rogers intersection is one of the critical intersections of the development.

RDC member Eric Sandweiss said the parcel has an “evident and obvious public value.” Without the parcel, Sandweiss said, the RDC would be “stuck” because the RDC’s property, as a part of the IU Health land deal, includes all of the lots to the east and west of it.

If that parcel at 2nd and Rogers were a gap, Sandweiss said, it potentially decreases the ability of the city to see continuous well-thought-out development along that corridor.