Bloomington officials say they plan to use the current Indiana University Health hospital site to meet growing demands of the city, including the specific needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. The committee in charge of planning for the project met Tuesday to discuss potential plans for the land.
The city officially purchased the hospital site earlier this year for $6.5 million, after more than a year of negotiations with IU Health. Bloomington will receive the land after IU Health moves to a combined hospital and academic building, which is currently being constructed on State Road 45/46.
The city hired the Urban Land Institute, a national consulting firm, to assess the site and propose potential developments. In April of this year, the firm visited the city and conducted interviews with residents before pitching some initial recommendations. Those included retail, residential, office and mixed-use spaces, as well as affordable housing.
ULI published a first draft of its final report this week, and the Hospital Site Reuitilization Steering Committee went over its findings Tuesday.
The meeting included discussions about bringing affordable housing to the area. Residents have expressed concern that any new housing developments could increase the student population in nearby neighborhoods.
Bloomington Deputy Mayor Mick Renneisen says the city is considering affordable options. He says the community has a high demand for residential properties.
“We’re talking about a spectrum of affordability that’s all the way from people whose income is below poverty level or at poverty level, all the way through folks who are CEOs of companies,” Renneisen says. “And even some of those folks want to live downtown, and we don’t have very much housing product other than student housing in the downtown area.”
While demolition won’t begin for a few years, Renneisen says the city is focusing on outreach.
“We think we’re fortunate to have some lead time to start working on partnerships and these kinds of discussions,” Renneisen says. “That can happen now so that when site control is actually ours we can begin to effectuate, build.”
Officials say they plan to continue with community discussion and outreach moving forward, at least until they choose a master developer to oversee the project.
The committee also discussed a potential timeline for redevelopment. They plan to begin demolition in 2022. From there, the city will continue development through 2034.
IU Health plans to relocate to the new center in 2021.