Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New Development May Affect Central Branch Issues

Plans are beginning to emerge regarding a new office/community building that the City of Grosse Pointe Park may build on the property in front of the Ewald Branch fronting Jefferson Avenue. The City and some members of the Board of Trustees have met and the City has offered to allow the Library to lease space in the new building. The Building Committee has begun to discuss the possibility of moving some of the Library’s administrative and technical services to this new building.

This may be significant because the Central Branch would have housed these services and, by being able to move them out of the Central Branch, this means that less space may be needed there. The Central Branch is located on a small piece of property. The property is already fully-utilized by either the present building or parking. Because the plan is to expand the overall square footage – regardless of whether the current building is used or replaced – any savings from transferring services to another branch or building will ease the overall space concerns. And, since expanding the building size means decreasing parking space, if that expansion can be limited, the parking issues will be easier to solve.

It is too early to tell if transferring Administration will increase the likelihood that the current Breuer-designed building can be saved. Before that can be assessed, more details will be needed regarding 1) the Park’s new building; 2) how much space can be saved by transferring Administration; and 3) the architect’s analysis. (The architect will be selected within a few weeks.)

Whether this will have much of an effect on overall cost cannot be determined at this early date. Factors such as how much overall space can be saved in construction, how much space will need to be leased, and the rent must all be considered. In construction, the cost would be up-front (at the time of the building), when renting, the cost (paying rent and any build-out) can be spread over the term of the lease and any extensions.

While little detail is known regarding this new building and exactly how it will impact the Central Branch expansion, it is an encouraging development.