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City Council Approves Historic Preservation For One Building and Denies Another

players-pub.jpg

The Bloomington City Council unanimously denied the Boxman-Mitchell Building, most recently Player's Pub, the historic preservation designation.

The Bloomington City Council voted Wednesday night to grant historic status to the Kohr Administration Building and denied the designation for the Boxman-Mitchell Building.

The council unanimously voted to preserve the Kohr Administration Building on the northwest corner of Rogers and First Street. It’s the oldest building on Bloomington’s first hospital site. But due to structural instability and an alleged racist history, the Boxman-Mitchell Building which last housed the Player’s Pub received no support from the council.

Conor Herterich, Bloomington’s historic preservation program manager, presented the case for both buildings. According to him, the Kohr Building represents Bloomington’s ongoing history in the healthcare industry and the dedication of the Local Council of Women which created Bloomington’s first hospital in 1905.

“The history of the building highlights efforts of local women who continually fought for adequate healthcare and, as a result, made a significant positive impact on the well-being of the community,” Herterich said.

Built in 1947, the Kohr Building showcases art deco design and is the oldest remaining building on the Hopewell Farm property that eventually became the home of IU Health Bloomington.

READ MORE: Bloomington's Hamilton Signs Letter In Support Of Federal COVID-19 Spending Package

Bloomington Director of Economic Sustainability Alex Crowley joined the meeting to discuss the Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) that were discussed at the last meeting. He could not provide an estimated number of units the building would provide, but Crowley mentioned that the tax credits could apply to a non-attached building, if the city paired the Kohr Building with another affordable housing location.

The council unanimously denied historic preservation for the Boxman-Mitchell Building. Some council members highlighted the building’s rumored past as a segregated restaurant while others mentioned its current unsafe condition and the remodeling projects that have altered the facade.

Josh Alley, building owner, said he doesn’t have the $300,000 necessary to make the building safe and said he had no plans for the property until after the pandemic.

“We had a vision when we bought the building to restore the building. But when you start peeling back the onion, things got a little complicated. That’s when they got costly,” Alley said. “If I had to do something tomorrow, I’d demo the building, plant grass seed and sit and wait beyond the pandemic to see what happens.”

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