A historic structure in the Trades District in Bloomington is being positioned for redevelopment. The city’s redevelopment commission announced Tuesday it is selling the Showers Brothers Furniture Factory Kiln Building to a group of local investors and businesses known as The Kiln Collective.
The 100-year-old, one-story building is located at 642 North Madison Street next to The Mill coworking space in Bloomington. It was originally part of the Shower Brothers Furniture Company complex and used for drying lumber that would later be milled into furniture.
The Kiln is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was also designated at the local level as part of the Shower Brothers Furniture Factory Historic District.
The Kiln Collective is comprised of the owners of several local businesses, including SproutBox, Soma Coffeeehouse & Juice Bar, Eurton Properties, and Bailey Weiler Design + Build.
The collective will pay $50,000 to acquire the building from the city and invest an additional $2 million to renovate the property over at least two phases.
The first phase will be a ground floor renovation of the original building that will convert it into usable space for the businesses in the collective. The renovations are expected to begin within the next several months.
The second phase will involve adding more built-to-suit stories above the original structure to provide space for graduates of The Mill or other companies interested in moving to the Trades District.
The collective says it wants to provide a space for flourishing startups and established companies to be able to expand. Designs for the property also include restaurant space.
“We look forward to this next step in the evolution of the Trades District,” Alex Crowley, director of economic and sustainable development for the city, said in written remarks. “This elegant adaptive reuse of the Kiln, especially in such close proximity to the Mill, will add to the growing vibrancy of activity in the Trades District.”
The city says the project will see different challenges since the building was designed to dry lumber rather than house a workforce. However, the project has received approval from the Historic Preservation Commission and the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission.
In 2019, the city began accepting bids for the property. However, an original agreement to purchase the building in 2020 was delayed due to the pandemic.