The process of transforming 24 acres near downtown Bloomington from a hospital complex to — well, anything — has officially started, with the city bringing in outside help.
Urban Land Institute representatives are expected to meet with officials and community members in April, following last week’s news that the city of Bloomington would purchase the current hospital site from Indiana University Health for $6.5 million.
City officials spoke at length with the Urban Land Institute not long after the Wednesday news conference at City Hall, Deputy Mayor Mick Renneisen said.
“Basically, they told us, this time is key: We need to start working on things,” Renneisen said.
The city is expected to take ownership of the West Second Street property after IU Health facilities completely move into their new Regional Academic Health Center, about three miles away, in 2020. IU Health has agreed to demolish portions of the site, with the site ready to be turned over to the city in 2021.
The Urban Land Institute, or ULI, is a nonprofit research and education organization that previously teamed up with Bloomington and then-Mayor John Fernandez to redevelop the RCA/ Thomson TV manufacturing site that closed in 1998. The Cook Pharmica facility, now Catalent, was built on a portion of that land off Patterson Drive. Other portions remain undeveloped.
“Obviously, that was a successful outcome for the city,” Renneisen said.
Renneisen said his conversation with the Institute’s Director of Advisory Services Paul Angelone was extremely productive in laying out the next steps of the process. Angelone will also serve as lead project manager in Bloomington.
A panel of eight to 10 institute members will come to Bloomington April 8-13 to interview up to 100 stakeholders as identified by the city, Renneisen said. Individuals with a personal, financial or community interest — surrounding neighbors, potential developers, faith-based groups, nonprofit leaders and elected officials — will meet with the panelists to discuss ideas for the best possible reuse of the 24-acre plot.