Trail East: Stealing Bloomington jobs

By:  Diane Benjamin

The proposed building on Uptown Circle will result in the loss of historic buildings on Beaufort – and the mural.

What does Normal Get?

Farnsworth Group and AFNI jobs will relocate from Bloomington.  No new jobs.  No growth for the area, just destruction of the mural and historic buildings.

Is the war still on Bloomington started by ending Metrozone?

I thought both cities had an agreement not to poach from the other.

According to this WJBC article, Uptown will gain 300 jobs:

That means Bloomington will lose 300 jobs.

Normal is likely giving away property they paid $670,000 for:

Now Normal is going to spend $100,000 to move the mural?  That $670,000 doesn’t include the other land Trail East needs, just the south side.

This story from 2012 may have the purchase price of the other land.  I don’t know if the address is on College or on Constitution Blvd.  See if you can figure it out:

The point is:

When does this project not make sense because the cost is too high?

Some trustee needs to ask what the total cost of the land likely being given away is, especially when the 1st floor of 1 Uptown Circle is still empty.  Afni could move there, Farnsworth could sublet the second floor and save Normal a ton of money.

The “Plan” is crumbling, Normal should cut their losses before it gets worse.

I wonder how Chris Koos’ brother Greg feels?  Greg is getting an historic preservation award tonight while Chris is trying to erase more history in Uptown.


8 thoughts on “Trail East: Stealing Bloomington jobs

  1. The town needs to recoup any money spent on this from the 1 of 13 plaintiffs who ran the Pod and agreed to indemnify the town.

    I see nothing about the jobs lost from businesses closing to where it is a net figure. I guess those running restaurants were expected to get jobs at the town’s preferred Portillo’s? If we’re giving away taxpayer money, at least have it be a Brandt situation where good jobs are the result. Those people will buy houses in the area, etc. Having an AFNI rep come to location B in Normal instead of location A in Bloomington does nothing in terms of economic development.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m still blown away by the fact that the first floor of 1 Uptown is STILL vacant. How long does a developer need to be in violation of their agreement before the Town acts on it? That deal needs to be renegotiated and Rickel needs to be brought to the table for a discussion. The Town won’t do anything yet though because they’re all wrapped up in this mural fiasco.

    Also, your question regarding the Town still being upset over the City pulling out of the Metrozone… you bet they are. The Town lost a rather significant amount of money a year due to the unilateral termination of that deal. The Town may have agreed publicly to not poach businesses, but you know they’re chomping at the bit to get these two to come over.

    Maybe the new 300+ employees in Uptown will spur a restaurant to fill that space across the street? Wishful thinking I’m sure.


    1. The Town won’t take action against the developer or even call them out. To do so, would be to expose Koos and his government central planners as the failures they are. If the developers are street smart (which most are), they know this and will likely hang it over Koos’ head. Maybe Stan could ask about this agreement at an upcoming Town Council meeting. Suggesting for a friend.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The Uptown Normal disaster is what happens when elected AND unelected officials get to play with other peoples money to make their bad dreams come true. If they were in private business losing their own money, Koos and is gaggle would be on welfare.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Paying $100K to move that mural is the most blatant theft of taxpayer money I think I’ve ever seen. Clearly a couple of art students wound be thrilled to make a couple of thousand dollars to re-create it. I want to say that it is unbelievable but considering the source, it’s protocol.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Leave those buildings there. They can’t even fill the ones that they have just built, To me, the buildings in question are not particularly historic, but they are relatively old. They aren’t really in the way. They are historic from the viewpoint of being on old 66 and at the RR junction.
    Bustling downtown and the quaint little college town have both lost their character, precious characters that shall never return. “There’ somethin’ happen’ here. and what it is ain’t exactly clear”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whether to was Bowman or Dietz, Koos realized early on the importance of having the ISU administration on his side. In exchange for some student votes, Koos would tidy up campus town and put in sparkling student housing at taxpayer expense. When mommy and daddy Chicago suburb came down to visit, it all looked sparkling clean for junior and Sissy and made mommy and daddy feel this was a safe place for the kiddies to get an adequate higher education and have some fun along with it. The usual political trade-offs you see everywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

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