The retail area on 10th Street, currently known as Crosstown Shopping Center, has started being vacated.
The stores that occupied this strip mall included Soma Coffeehouse, Crosstown Barber Shop and 10th Street Market.
The IU Foundation, who owns the land, worked with the tenants to get them moved out.
Once the space is fully empty and demolition has happened, the IU Foundation will sell the land to IU at market rate, said Matthew Kavgian, director of strategic communications and projects for the IU Foundation. The WS Property Group will manage the project from there.
“We won’t have any role in that project or property going forward,” Kavgian said.
Kavgian said he is unable to give an exact start date for the project. The project will take about a year once WS Property Group breaks ground.
The project will be include a three-story building with office space on the upper levels and retail space on the lowest level, according to documents from a Sept. 10 Bloomington Plan Commission meeting.
Once the first building is complete, a second building with similar uses will be built. The second phase will required the restaurants in the Crosstown II retail area, which include Red Mango and Lennie’s, to move out at some time time as well.
One of the businesses that had to close was Soma's 10th Street location. Tyler Gress, past manager of that location and current manager of the the East 3rd Street location, said the project came as a surprise.
Gress said owners knew about the plans for the project, but believed it was a couple years away from beginning.
"It surprised everyone from the top down because I believe the foundation made their decision suddenly and changed to doing the construction sooner,” Gress said.
Kavgian said each retailer was met with in person, with the exception of the Chase Bank ATM, in the first weeks of May in regards to the project.
The original move-out date was Aug. 1, but then businesses received letters in late June which announced the move-out date was changed to Aug. 31, Kavgian said.
Most of the tenants were on month-to-month leases. One exception is Sobon, a Korean restaurant. It remains open due to a pre-existing lease. Kavgian said the IU Foundation is currently negotiating terms for their move-out.
Kavgian said the businesses had their rent waived once the move-out was announced and that they offered some relocation assistance for the businesses.
The Soma Coffeehouse on 10th Street was the coffee shop’s third location. It opened in January 2017.
Gress said he does not think there is a plan for a new third location during construction, but that Soma may move into the retail space of the new building upon completion.
“The businesses that get to move into the ground floor are Lennie’s for certain, and I was told with some certainty that Soma would also get to move into the bottom,” Gress said.
According to the plan documents, they anticipate to relocated many of the existing Crosstown II tenants into the new retail space.
Gress said he feels the move has not really affected business since many of the people who went to the 10th Street location have just started going to one of the other locations.
“I’m certainly going to miss the culture we got to establish there,” Gress said.