Uptown Vacancies (Updated)

By: Diane Benjamin The map below was created using a list of vacancies compiled by a citizen. It includes the 1st Floor of 1 Uptown Circle since there is still not an operating business there. Click the link below – each X has a description. Next ask Normal (and Trustees/candidates) what success is. Government buildings […]

Normal looking for new tenant selling food

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.normalil.gov/bids.aspx?bidID=372 The Subway in the Amtrak Station closed in October. The Town of Normal now thinks they need a new tenant. Subway closed because they didn’t have enough foot traffic to sell food in the volume needed. FYI, I know one of the former owners. I was in the parking garage a […]

Bloomington tonight – short meeting

By: Diane Benjamin If nothing gets pulled from the Consent Agenda the only item remaining is the Finance Director’s Report and comments. On the Consent Agenda: The gift that can’t stop giving – Coliseum, it isn’t Grossinger Motors Arena anymore: Looks like the Market Street Garage isn’t going anywhere soon: $10.52 a square foot. Normal […]

1 Uptown Circle finally has a restaurant

By: Diane Benjamin The new restaurant was announced on Facebook: How much is Normal rebating? Since nothing happens in Uptown without incentives look for food and beverage tax rebates and maybe some free parking for customers in the garage. Review this story for details of what Normal wanted in this space back in 2016: https://blnnews.com/2022/04/19/kevin-mccarthy-re-writing-history/ […]

Facts Matter, just not to everybody

By: Diane Benjamin EDC director Patrick Hoban showed up at the Bloomington City Council meeting to push for the $750,000 downtown study. He claimed downtown is the heart of the City (heard that before?) and he has studies that claim the Return on Investment is between 100 and 500%. He also claimed we don’t need […]

In Normal Council votes are sacrosanct, until they aren’t

By: Diane Benjamin Remember how Chris Koos frequently states payments can’t be discussed because they were all approved in the budget they spent ONE DAY discussing? He even changed the Agenda item from “approve” to “report to receive and file”. I FOIA’d Normal for a list of all organizations their employees are members of. Normal […]

Uptown – Conversation on Facebook

By: Diane Benjamin There is a Facebook Group called: Save the Uptown Mural and Historic Buildings On November 29th this story was posted to the group:  Against Master Developers The best lines in the story are at the end: Master planner-based developments, with their large, centralized buildings, inhibit the growth of local businesses and reduce […]

Uptown: We will take two please

By: Diane Benjamin Is Uptown a success? The successful buildings on the circle so far are government owned, Children’s Discovery Museum and Amtrak/Town offices. The third building still has an empty first floor and the taxpayers are renting the entire second floor for the Town. (Remember when the Council told Pam it was a high […]

Need a Luxury Apartment?

By: Diane Benjamin How about a luxury apartment subsidized by taxpayers? Is this Normal’s version of affordable housing? 1 Uptown Circle would never have been built without taxpayer money. Normal continues to rent an entire floor for close to $36,000 a month so around 20 employees can work there. Remember when the Council named it […]

More Questions for Pam Reece:

By: Diane Benjamin Remember 305 S. Linden? Without a vote by the Council Pam Reece declared this building surplus property and put it up for sale: Request for proposals: https://www.normal.org/bids.aspx?bidID=267 Since the property is in a TIF staff doesn’t need the approval of the Council according to Town code. Bidding ended in November. Waiting until […]

Excessive rent discussed at Normal Budget meeting

By: Diane Benjamin Of course Stan Nord knows taxpayers got fleeced to rent the second floor of 1 Uptown Circle only to fill a hole in Uptown. The Council that approved paying $35000-$36000 a month simply did as they were told. Chris Koos wanted the hole gone and obviously the private sector wasn’t going to […]

Subsidized Housing in Normal

By: Diane Benjamin The first floor of One Uptown Circle has never had a tenant. The second floor is rented by the Town of Normal for close to $36,000 a month. Need a place to live? WGLT estimated taxpayers got stuck with 60% of the cost of this building. https://blnnews.com/2020/01/03/1-uptown-circle-the-old-story/ Instead of affordable housing, Normal […]

Proving yet again Normal doesn’t want to hear from citizens . . . .

Monday night the Town of Normal is finally “fixing” their Public Comment Policy. The Town is making sure it as difficult as possible for citizens: PDSF page 105: https://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12612/Council-Packet–PDF Right now citizens aren’t allowed to talk about anything not on the agenda. That was obviously illegal and the Town knew it. Instead of just having […]

Normal Pay Attention: Uptown TIF Report

By: Diane Benjamin All the Financial Information for the Town of Normal is now posted on the Comptroller’s website. It includes reports on the FIVE TIF districts. This site is for citizens because they are in a much easier to read format. The reports used to be easy to find, the Democrat Comptroller redesigned the […]

I’m a liar Chris Koos? (chuckles)

By:  Diane Benjamin The conversation is continuing on the post Chris Koos made to Facebook.  See the original story:  https://blnnews.com/2020/07/19/koos-out-of-touch-or-out-of-his-mind/ Below are excerpts, Joel Studebaker got into lots of topics.  The one that interested me was the empty first floor at 1 Uptown Circle. Note Cheryl Gaines claims renting it is up to the owner […]

Normal: 4-20-20

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Peoria is facing a $31 million deficit because of COVID-19:  https://week.com/2020/04/14/peoria-city-council-facing-31-million-hole-cuts-likely-on-the-way/ Normal is missing close to half of their population because of college closures.  What is their deficit?  (crickets) http://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3608 Since bills were not included in the last packet, there are two lists in this one. Previously Normal paid […]

Uptown, something easy to understand

By:  Diane Benjamin This is story #3.  I know many of you didn’t understand #2 – I can tell that by the number of “Shares” it received.  Keep in mind sharing information is the only way what I report gets to other people! Brief recap: Story #1:  https://blnnews.com/2020/03/31/normal-remember-all-those-property-tax-increases/ Everybody in Normal is paying higher property […]

Why did this story get written?

By:  Diane Benjamin WGLT did a story yesterday pertaining to the still empty space at 1 Uptown Circle.  Take a minute and read it:  https://www.wglt.org/emails-show-developers-struggle-find-first-floor-tenant-uptown-building Since the Town of Normal and WGLT are best buds, there has to be a reason for this story.  I’ve noted many times Tartan Realty had the opportunity to rent […]

Did Normal admit Uptown is a failure?

By:  Diane Benjamin The first floor of 1 Uptown Circle has been vacant and never rented since the building was finished in 2017.  https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/1-Uptown-Cir-Normal-IL/10774114/ The Uptown TIF was started in 2003 and incurred a massive amount of debt.  To date, according to the reports filed by Normal, the TIF has only earned $15,065,431.  That isn’t […]

1 Uptown Circle – the OLD story

By:  Diane Benjamin I found this old WGLT story while looking for something else.  It’s always fun to see what taxpayers were told before a project and compare it to reality.  This article is from March of 2016. Source:   wglt.org Estimating Taxpayer Support Uptown Construction Project WGLT and the Town of Normal disagreed on the […]

Update: Normal tonight

The ornaments are for sale: By:  Dine Benjamin https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3467 Since the video had “technical difficulties” just during public comment at the last meeting, the minutes for approval tonight have a TINY bit of info on each person who spoke – emphasis on TINY: All of the speakers with the exception of Dave Shields were against […]

New Uptown Building delayed

By:  Diane Benjamin WGLT reported yesterday Trail East construction has been delayed until spring:  https://www.wglt.org/mayor-financing-issues-delay-construction-trail-east-until-spring-2020 Note:  The last time a new building in Uptown had “financing” issues, the Town agreed to rent an entire floor at above market rates and the main floor is STILL empty. Demolition of the old buildings on Beaufort may start […]

Talking Points: Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin The sales tax plan for the Fiala brothers created some havoc for some of the Trustees.  The citizens of Normal are really tired of the Town’s giveaways, especially to their “friends”. The citizens remember all the properties given away to create Uptown.  Nobody would have built there without them.  The citizens see […]

Normal: Desperate to fill Uptown?

By:  Diane Benjamin I found this one while looking for something else – the other story tomorrow. Normal prides itself on being “green” and being environment politically correct. Have you heard them talk about LEED Certification? Here’s what that means according to Wikipedia: Of course this makes construction more expensive.  Normal has building codes requiring […]

Normal Finance reports plus Connect Transit

By:  Diane Benjamin http://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3362 The Town is holding a meeting tonight. Below are a few expenses: Who gets these? Monthly fleece: Why is taxpayer money used to sponsor anything?  Why is government picking winners and losers by sponsoring who they choose? The financial statements from March 31, 2019 are likely done, the auditor is being […]

Normal: Your money Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3322 Isaac Thorne from Connect Transit will do a presentation.  He will tell you it’s your imagination the huge buses are empty.  Have you noticed the newer buses have dark windows so it’s hard to tell?  The rider numbers will be ridiculous, they either have no idea how many people use the […]

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 […]

Will Normal’s reckless spending end?

By:  Diane Benjamin Two new trustees will be sworn into office at 7:00.  They were elected because Chris Koos did not want them on the Council.  Stan Nord and Karyn Smith will need the support of citizens to stop this madness! http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3285 Look at this spending.  Get the idea government and quasi-government agencies know how […]

More on Uptown Circle

By:  Diane Benjamin Followup to yesterday’s story:  https://blnnews.com/2018/03/16/hum-uptown-circle/ As reported yesterday, this new building in Uptown has no tenants on the first floor.  The Town of Normal is renting the entire second floor: According to the Pantagraph from 7/4/2016: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/normal-eyes-design-contract-for-office-space/article_9d3ad5b1-f04d-5709-a834-2d10fe6db9eb.html The town will lease 13,780 square feet of office space for 15 years, with renewal options, […]