The City of Bloomington and Illinois Wesleyan University are ramping up marketing efforts to find a buyer for the former Mennonite Hospital and Electrolux site.
The Bloomington City Council on Tuesday will consider a contract with Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty of Champaign to market the 4.1-acre property in the 800 block of North Main Street on the south end of the IWU campus.
IWU has already approved the contract.
“I think is provides us an additional level of focus on getting the site developed, not that there hasn’t been, but there were things that had to happen to get us to this point,” Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus said.
Tyus said city staff has been laying the groundwork for a potential sale by compiling data such as tax history and utility access that will be included in the pitch to developers.
City officials said last July when they started marketing the site they had hoped to have bids by the end of 2018.
Tyus said the city has fielded inquiries about the property but didn’t go into specifics.
“It hasn’t necessarily been the best environment for development over the last several years, and so we think we are at a point now where we are going to start to see some things happen really, really soon,” he said.
The city and IWU are looking for developers to build a mixed-use structure with retail and commercial outlets on the first floor and upper-story residential units. A draft of a revised memorandum of understanding requests the housing should not be targeted to college students and to senior citizens.
Coldwell Banker would get a $100,000 commission if it finds a buyer. That’s a 6 percent commission based on the property’s estimated value of $1.67 million. The city would pay $73,000 and IWU would pay $26,700.
Tyus said it’s too soon to say whether the city would be willing to offer financial incentives for a project at the site.
Mennonite Hospital was build in 1918 and was demolished in 2015 after Electrolux moved out when its operations moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.
The council on Tuesday will also consider formally establishing the city’s downtown cultural district and setting its geographic boundaries.
It generally covers the area from Grossinger Motors Arena to the south to the Bloomington Creativity Center to the north.
Tyus said the city wants the approximately 20-block area to have a distinct identity.
“When you talk about the city’s cultural district or whatever you might call it, it creates a sense of place and you know what you are getting when you go there,” Tyus said.
The city’s cultural commission proposed the boundaries last August.
The city council on Tuesday will also consider a new three-year contract with 64 Bloomington Public Library employees who are members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 699.
The agreement removes accelerated pension payments through sick-leave buy back for employees who stay past Nov 1. The city plans to remove sick-leave buy back pension spikes from all future labor contracts.
Those employees have been working without a contract since April 30. Workers would get a 2.5% pay raise retroactive to May 1, and raises of 3% on May 1, 2020, and 2.5% on May 1, 2021.
The 6 p.m. council meeting has been moved to Tuesday because of the Memorial Day holiday.
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