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Bloomington Plan Commission Approves New Student Housing Development

City Hall council chambers meeting room

The Plan Commission voted unanimously to approve plans for the housing development during a meeting Monday evening. (Alex Eady, WTIU/WFIU News )

Bloomington’s plan commission unanimously agreed to approve plans for an 820-bedroom student housing complex slated for North Walnut Street.

The plan allows petitioners with Collegiate Development Group to acquire and repurpose land located at 1800 N. Walnut Street, the current site of Bloomington’s Motel 6.

Plans call for two buildings at a maximum of six stories with 6,000 square feet of lower floor commercial space. The property would also have an adjoining parking garage with 410 spaces.

Developers say the fully furnished apartment complex would be comparable to Evolve, which sits on North Dunn St.

With the proposed location away from most residential family neighborhoods, commissioners agreed this is an appropriate way to redevelop an underutilized site.

“If there are going to be student-oriented housing projects built, this is a fairly ideal place to do that," says commissioner Susan Sandberg. "Given what it’s next to and the least amount of impact that it might have on adjacent properties and adjacent neighborhoods.”  

Rendering of the planned unit development
The plans call for an 820-bedroom housing complex with lower floor commercial space to be built at 1800 N. Walnut St. (Photo: Dwell Design Studio) 

Developers have also committed to contributing $2.4 million to the city’s affordable housing fund.

READ MORE: What's Bloomington Doing To Address Affordable Housing?

Alex Crowley is the city’s Director of Economic and Sustainable Development. He says although there’s often skepticism about the housing fund, it’s a way for developers to create student-centric housing, while still giving back to other demographics who the property may not be suited for.

"What we’ve come up with really is this mechanism, the housing development fund as a way, in very specific situations like these, where someone can contribute back to Bloomington and to the affordable housing challenge without, forcing something into a development that doesn’t make sense there,” Crowley says.

Since their first presentation with the Plan Commission, the petitioners made a number of changes to the planned unit development, including increasing bike parking and creating pedestrian connections from Walnut to 19th St.

Petitioners are also negotiating with nearby properties, like Varsity Villas to create a through path for students to the university’s stadium bus stop.

The final development plan will go before the Common Council and return to the commission for final approval.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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