Illinois– The city of Bloomington is deciding on a potential re-use for a building in the downtown area that an insurance firm is vacating. One suggestion for the 89-year-old structure is a new city hall, while others call for office space and light retail. While the exact designation is unclear the size of the building would make it a good fit for a public-private partnership (P3).
The insurance company is finishing up renovations on the building this month that include upgrading the lighting, cafeteria, restrooms, wiring and heating. The city plans to take up the topic along with a library-transit project at its upcoming city council meeting. The project would involve tearing down the Market Street parking garage and building a new library and transit hub in its place.
Washington, D.C.- Smithsonian officials are planning for an additional 2.5 million visitors at the National Zoo over the next 10 years. To accommodate the increase in guests, plans are in the works to build a 6-story parking garage with 1,280 spaces for vehicles. Smithsonian’s National Zoo has just over 880 parking spaces on its Connecticut Avenue campus, and the $50 million project would increase the total number of spaces to just over 1,400.
The proposal combines four of the zoos five existing surface lots into one structure allowing for the space to be repurposed for animal habitats. The Smithsonian Zoo plans for the structure to be built through a public-private partnership (P3). A request for proposals is expected to go out next month with construction beginning in 2020.
Indiana- Last week, Purdue University trustees approved plans to finance and award construction contracts for a new large animal and equine hospital, to renovate the West Lafayette campus Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building and to build a new Bioscience Innovation building on the Hammond campus. Trustees approved $35 million for phase I of the 76,600-square foot animal and equine hospital. Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2018 and finish in May of 2020. Future phases will include construction of a new small-animal hospital, with a final phase to construct a food animal hospital.
The $80 million renovation and addition to the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building calls for the demolition of an existing portion of the facility, a 125,000 square-foot addition and renovations to the more than 37,000 square feet of existing space in the building’s northern portion. The construction time frame runs from October 2018-October 2020. Construction on the $40.5 million Bioscience Innovation building is scheduled to begin in August 2018 and finish in April 2020. Once the new facility is occupied, Gyte Annex, which currently houses some of these academic areas, will be demolished. Other projects include the renovation of more than 6,500 square feet at the Heine Pharmacy Building, HVAC projects in Lynn Hall of Veterinary Medicine and Stewart Center and work in the bathrooms of Hillenbrand and Earhart residence halls.
Virginia- In November 2016, the County Board of Supervisors for Albemarle County approved a contract with an engineering services company, to evaluate the possibility of moving the Albemarle General District Court, Albemarle Circuit Court and the Albemarle County Administrative Office out of the city. The county has set aside nearly $40 million from its Capital Improvement Program budget to fund the project. Now, almost one year later, a decision has yet to be reached and there is growing contention over where to house the court buildings.
The county had five different options on the table, but right now only two are being explored. The first option would be to renovate the former Levy Opera House, demolish the surrounding buildings, build a new three-story general district court on the site and renovate the current court complex for $39.7 million. The second option would be to build a new court complex outside of the downtown area, move the General District Court and office building into the Charlottesville court facility, against the wishes of the city, and build a new administrative building for a total estimated cost of $37.7 million.
The option for keeping the courts downtown has not been officially taken off the table, but the county board has decided to pause on that option until they have a chance to fully explore the possibility of a public-private partnership. The criminal justice community is strongly opposed to dismantling the current county court system but the downtown location poses major parking problems. The county board is expected to make a decision by the end of this year.