Friday, August 28, 2015

Downtown Library Update

The council held a worksession this past Tuesday to discuss the building footprint and parking considerations for the new downtown Cary library.

Wake County staff and their consultants need to begin conceptual programming in October so that they can meet their design deadline of January, 2016. Things will be moving pretty fast from here on out so that Wake County can meet their bond funding requirements and that the library can be completed by the summer of 2018.

The library will be approximately 25,000 sq ft – more than double the size of the existing library on Academy Street and will be constructed at the corner of Walnut Street and Kildaire Farm Road across from the Cary Arts Center and Cary Elementary school. We are also looking to partner with the private sector to locate office, residential and restaurants on the site. You can read more about why we selected this site for the downtown Cary Library here.

The two primary questions for the council pertained to how we would like to see the building(s) situated and parking options.

I am pleased that the council ultimately selected a building layout very similar to that which we approved in 2010, and that we prefer structured parking over surface parking as a surface parking lot with the required number of parking spaces would consume most of the available land left for development and jeopardize future opportunities.

Potential Library with Surface Parking
We also need additional parking to better serve The Cary Arts Center and surrounding area. Building structured parking in conjunction with the library helps to meet those needs.

It makes little fiscal sense to spend over a million dollars on a surface parking lot that would ripped out a year or two later to construct a deck. I’d prefer to put that money towards structured parking and do it right the first time. Private development also provides the opportunity for additional funding partners to help pay for it.

Artist's Rendering of Library and Structured Parking Wrapped with Private Development
The folks from Wake County will spend the next few weeks working to further refine the concept based on council feedback and will report back sometime next month. Town staff in the meantime will be working to identify funding options for council to consider.

Exciting things are happening downtown! Oh, I almost forgot, more good news is that once the new library is completed, the town can then sell the existing library site and land behind it for redevelopment which will provide additional funds to help offset the cost of structured parking or other town initiatives.

That's about it for now. I'll provide another update once we meet again with Wake County and town staff. Thanks for reading!