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Normal seeing interest in apartment complex projects

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So far this year, the Town of Normal has approved plans for 80 new single-family homes to help address a 4,000-unit housing shortage in Bloomington-Normal. But City Manager Pam Reece said those have all been within existing subdivisions and don't address a lack of upscale apartments — until recently.

"We have had some conversations with prospective developers for land in the area on projects that would entail R3 multifamily high-density housing and R2 medium-density residential housing. Those could be apartment units or town homes. They haven't filed anything yet for planning commission review. But I believe we'll be seeing some some proposed new construction on the horizon," said Reece on WGLT's Sound Ideas.

Reece thinks a potential project in north Normal could begin sometime in the fall.

Meanwhile, she said six companies have shown interest in building a new fire station on the east side of town at Shepard and Hershey roads.

"We are seeking a design-build process. We're going to interview teams that are basically interested in the work, a variety of design and construction teams, most of them general work not just focusing solely on fire stations as their book of business," said Reece.

She hopes to avoid adjustments to the $5 million project forced by inflation.

"It is certainly our goal to stay within budget. And we're going to be interested to hear from our design and construction firms on maybe material choices, or construction and design decisions that can be cost effective and help us stay within budget. We're going to rely on the experts on that one," said Reece.

She said staff hopes to recommend a firm to the town council in September. Construction could begin this fall and be complete next year on the station that will replace the old No. 2 station.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.