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900 Bedroom Apartment Complex At Former Kmart Site Gets Final Approval, Demolition Scheduled For November

A photo taken outside the former K-Mart storefront on East Third Street in Bloomington.

(Alex Paul, WFIU/WTIU News)

The Bloomington Plan Commission gave its final approval Monday night on a 906-bedroom housing development at the former site of Kmart on East Third Street.

The new complex called "District at Latimer Square" will have 340 apartments for both multi-family residences and student housing.  

Indianapolis-based Trinitas Ventures is heading the project, but the national company ELS Architecture and Urban Design is responsible for drawing up the master plan.  

"One of the benefits we realized right away was putting housing next to retail. There’s an opportunity here to reinforce existing, local retailers," said ELS director, Ryan Call.

 READ MORE: Former K-mart Site Could Become 906-Bedroom Apartment Complex 

In May, plan commissioners emphasized the need to redevelop the location into a more sustainable area. It’s currently a giant, unused asphalt parking lot with only 7 percent permeable surface.

Call said developers then added more greenspace to the site plan, which now includes 300 new trees, a half mile of bike lanes, a mile of sidewalks and 1.5 acres of park space. These additions bring the project up to 40 percent permeable surface, which is the minimum required in Bloomington’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

A rendering of the new housing development at the former K-Mart site in Bloomington.
Four separate apartment buildings, two newly built parks, and two east-west streets make up the complex, leaving the Bloomingfoods store on the northeast corner of the site intact. (Courtesy: City of Bloomington)

"There’s a chance to create gathering and park space in a district that doesn’t have that much at all. And there’s a chance to put the housing where it belongs, which is inside the city," said Call.  

The site plan also includes 535 parking spaces with a mix of on-street and surface parking, as well as a 378-space parking garage with 22 electric vehicle charging stations.  

Trinitas’ director of development operations March Becher said this is a reasonable parking ratio. 

"It’s very similar to what we’ve used in other projects as well, especially when you consider that this is on a bus line and it’s close to existing retail and commercial nodes," said Becher.  

One of the main concerns among plan commissioners and nearby residents in the Park Ridge East neighborhood was traffic congestion. With Kingston Drive running along the west side of the development and leading into Target and Chick-fil-A, vehicle blockage is very common. 

Plan commissioner Andrew Cibor, also a city engineer, said traffic in this area can be distributed by creating more access points.  

The development is adding two east-west thoroughfares that connect to Kingston Drive and the rest of the College Mall.  

"There will be some swelling, but I don’t think it will get to the point of significant traffic congestion," Cibor said.  

City senior zoning planner Eric Greulich said the process for handling traffic is always to consider if a stoplight is needed. 

"I don’t think there’s going to be enough traffic coming through here in either direction to warrant that, but a four-way stop here is something that could be considered in the future," Greulich said.  

He said the city will wait and see what the impact is after people start occupying the complex when considering future traffic issues. 

Pending approval from City of Bloomington Utilities and Bloomington Fire Department, demolition and construction could start as early as November 2021.

The project is expected to be completed by July 2023.

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