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The Indiana Daily Student

business & economy bloomington

Bloomington Redevelopment Commission to sell land in Bloomington Trades District

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The Bloomington Redevelopment Commission will begin reviewing development proposals for four tracks of land in the Trades District later this month.

The Bloomington Trades District is a 12-acre portion of the Certified Technology Park — a 65-acre area with several high-tech businesses, according to the City of Bloomington’s website. The Trades District is located northwest of the square and was previously home to the Showers Brothers Furniture Company.

Bloomington’s Trades District was launched in 2013 as a future tech hub aiming to attract private investments such as stocks, bonds and cash in Bloomington. This was done during Mark Kruzan’s run as mayor from 2004 to 2016.

[Related: Upcoming construction projects scheduled in the Bloomington area]

The tracts of land for sale are between Madison Street and Rogers Street as well as between 10th and 11th Street. A tract of land is a portion of land with specific boundaries created by a deed. The prices of the tracts range from $560,000 to more than $2.5 million, according to Indiana Public Media.

The Bloomington Redevelopment Commission approved an agreement with Dimension Mill, Inc., a non-profit coworking and entrepreneurship center, to manage and market the Trades District's Tech Center in January. The city announced in February that former Bloomington Mayor John Fernandez will lead the development and marketing of the Trades District as the Senior Vice President for Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at Dimension Mill, Inc. Fernandez was Bloomington’s mayor from 1995 to 2003.

[Related: Bloomington Transit to expand transportation options]

The city received a $3.5 million federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act grant in 2021 to build the Technology Center in Bloomington’s Trades District. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be complete by early 2025, according to Dimension Mill, Inc.

The Technology Center would be located at the southwest corner of Maker Way and Madison Street. It would include office and meeting spaces and help the Trades District become a good space for technology-focused businesses.

In April, City Council members denounced a lack of transparency surrounding the funding of the Tech Center. The city chose to pursue Community Revitalization Enhancement District funding instead of Tax Increment Financing District funds for the project. Councilmember Stephen Volan said in the meeting he was concerned with using the CRED funds for the Tech Center because it was originally supposed to be used for one of the two CRED districts in Bloomington.

[Related: City councilmembers denounce lack of transparency in Tech Center funding discussion]

CRED districts allow Bloomington to increase sales and income tax dollars through business investments in the area and then use the funds for economic developments in the district, according to the City of Bloomington’s website.

The Bloomington City Council voted in April to direct $3 million from the Bloomington Community Revitalization and Enhancement District funds towards funding the construction of the technology center. Additional funding for the project includes $3.5 million from the United States Economic Development Administration and nearly $2 million from the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission, according to a press release from Dimension Mill, Inc. The total cost of the project is an estimated $8.5 million, according to the press release.

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