March 6, 2013
$245 million library project gets green light
The construction of a new central library in Calgary is moving forward after city council unanimously voted to approve funds for the project, which is a significant part of the East Village redevelopment.
“We are talking about a site with some hair on it,” said City of Calgary Alderman and Calgary Public Library board member Druh Farrell, during a recent council meeting.
“The site itself has an LRT station going through it. It is behind city hall. We’ve turned our back on this site for many years. It provides an opportunity to finally address East Village with a municipal building.”
Council approval validates the project’s Master Program, confirms Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) as the developer and approves the release of funds required to move forward with construction.
The $245 million facility will be built in the East Village, which is east of the Calgary Municipal Building.
According to a progress update, the 286,000 sq. ft. library will include theatre space, public meeting and programming space, including 40,000 square feet for future library expansion and public space.
One of the most unique features of the construction project is the light rapid transit (LRT) right of way and LRT tracks that run the length of the site.
The development of the project will include the complete encapsulation of the LRT line.
As a result, a restrictive covenant will be applied to the entire site to protect the operation of the LRT tracks, by requiring approval from the city for any construction above grade or below grade near the LRT.
Currently, the city and CMLC are preparing a competitive, fair and transparent process to procure an architect and design for the building.
Site preparation and public engagement on the design of the new library will begin in 2013.
Construction is scheduled to start in 2014 with completion in 2018.
In addition to the original $40 million allocated by council for the construction of the project in 2004, another $135 million was approved in July 2011 from the Community Investment fund.
City council, acting as a CMLC shareholder, decided in December 2012 to finance the remaining $70 million using the Community Revitalization Levy fund.
The CMLC, which is overseeing re-development of the East Village, will manage, co-ordinate and supervise the design and construction of the new library. The CMLC was created as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary to implement and execute the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan, with a current focus on the revitalization of East Village.
The East Village is about 20 hectares in downtown Calgary, between the historic Fort Calgary and the business core.
According to CMLC, a new library will be a catalyst to private development on the site, by creating potential market demand for retail, commercial and residential use.
If you would like to see building reports for the new East Village library in Calgary, please click here.
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