Bloomington Moving Forward With Downtown Development | WGLT

Bloomington Moving Forward With Downtown Development

Aug 15, 2016

SB Friedman President Stephen Friedman presents the company's recommendations for downtown Bloomington.
Credit Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington will continue taking steps to bring economic development to the downtown area, despite the informal rejection of a proposal to build a hotel there.

Mayor Tari Renner said the city council has the same resolve and commitment to revitalizing downtown Bloomington.

“We've made it clear that downtown is a priority. It's our cultural core, historic core,” he said. “We're going to move forward with future development. It's just that this particular proposal was not acceptable.”

The $53 million planned hotel would have been built on the Front and Center block, but consulting firm SB Friedman advised the city last month not to pursue a partnership with the developers. During a committee meeting, the firm presented a list of reasons why the hotel proposal in its current form is not feasible and gave some suggestions for what's next.

Alderman Karen Schmidt said those suggestions are useful for a formal resolution, because there is a clear set of expectations and steps for moving forward.

“That is the positive momentum that we want to build on that we've had in the past,” she added.

Next week, the council is slated to vote on a formal resolution to turn down the hotel proposal in its current form and establish a plan moving forward using SB Friedman's recommendations. They may also consider a TIF district for a portion of downtown Bloomington. 

Meanwhile, city staff will come up with a process for determining the city's priorities for the downtown area. Aldermen plan to seek input from downtown businesses and other members of the community before establishing those priorities.