Construction of Affordable Housing in Bloomington to begin in June

BLOOMINGTON – Sixty-four new homes are on track to be built on City of Bloomington-owned land adjacent to Switchyard Park, with groundbreaking scheduled for June.

Retreat @ the Switchyard will provide a mix of supportive and affordable housing as well as market-rate units in a new apartment building at 1730 South Walnut Street.

The City’s Redevelopment Commission (RDC) purchased the 1.5-acre site at the park’s eastern entrance in 2017 to help steer development consistent with the community’s long-term goals.

The RDC in June 2020 selected RealAmerica Companies to develop the mixed-income and mixed-use project, which will include at least 48 units dedicated to residents earning 30 to 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), 10 of which will be reserved for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, supported by Stone Belt, a local nonprofit organization. The Bloomington Housing Authority (BHA) will provide project-based vouchers to increase access for low-income households and residents with disabilities. Affordability requirements will be in place for at least 99 years. Sixteen apartments will be offered at market rates, and the plans include ground-floor commercial space of 3,000 square feet as well as parking.

A community integration development, Retreat @ the Switchyard will incorporate services for residents within the facility.  Each apartment will be furnished with modern amenities, free Wi-Fi, home office space,  and a patio or balcony; common areas will include office space and a conference room. Located at the eastern entrance to Switchyard Park, Retreat @ the Switchyard will offer easy access to the B-Line Trail, Bloomington Transit routes, Bloomington High School South, and shopping.

The City offered the parcel, valued at nearly $1 million, to RealAmerica for $1 to develop as permanently affordable housing.  The developer partnered with Stone Belt in its application for federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) funds–one of nineteen awarded among the 51 Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) received this year–and will continue to work with the agency to develop onsite service facilities for the residents associated with Stone Belt.    

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton

“It’s exciting to support new housing like this so that more Bloomingtonians have attractive and affordable places to call home,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “We have been intentional about including and integrating affordable and supportive housing around our beautiful new Switchyard Park, where residents can enjoy so many outdoor amenities in a convenient location.  We thank the RDC for acquiring this property, the IHCDA for awarding federal housing funds, Stone Belt and BHA for partnering to offer long-term independent living solutions for more folks, and to the developers for their expertise and commitment to inclusive models of housing.”    

Ronda Shrewsbury Weybright, RealAmerica president and owner

“We are thankful to be able to invest in this very exciting project,” said Ronda Shrewsbury Weybright, RealAmerica president and owner, “and know it is due to our commitment to quality, the value we bring to the community, the importance we place on our residents, our proven success, and our partnership with the city of Bloomington and Stone Belt.”

Detailed design concepts for Retreat @ the Switchyard are being developed this spring.  Upon submission, a detailed site plan will be reviewed by City Planning staff for UDO compliance, and, in turn, reviewed by the City’s Plan Commission.  Construction is targeted for completion by October 2022.

RealAmerica is a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE)-certified company based in Indianapolis and was selected from among 10 housing developers that responded to a Request for Information (RFI) issued in December 2019.  RealAmerica was created in 1995 for the purpose of developing and constructing apartment housing for low- to moderate-income households, and since 1999, has developed (and manages) 27 apartment communities in Indiana through the LIHTC funding mechanism.