City of Boise Looks to Fund Options for Main Library Redesign 

"We're in the dreaming stage right now."

In a story that Boise Weekly called "The Next Big Thing," earlier this month we told you how Boise-based RMH teamed up with Portland, Ore.-based GGLO to propose a $17 million blocklong condominium and retail development for River Street, framed by Fulton, Eighth and Ninth streets.

The Capital City Development Corporation has since begun formal negotiations with RMH and GGLO to put a fine point on the proposal, which would revitalize some of the city's most prime real estate near Boise's Greenbelt and providing a new corridor from the southern end of Eighth Street, through BoDo and into the city's Downtown Core.

But what could ultimately be an "even bigger next big thing," plans may soon be afoot for a new main library, a story that Boise Weekly has been chronicling for a few years now.

"And another reason that this would be such a big deal is the library," CCDC Director John Brunelle told Boise Weekly. "There could be changes in the wind at that location."

Indeed, in a March 5 memo to his own board of trustees, Boise Public Library Director Kevin Booe wrote that the future of the Ninth and River site "will determine how the library's footprint should be developed."

And this coming Tuesday, March 25, the Boise City Council will be asked to make an interim budget change, shifting $70,000 to something called the "Main Library Redesign Capital Project." The money would help finance a process with a company called Architectural Nexus "to prepare options for a new main library pro forma building program." The $70,000, which was already designated for the project in the city's budget, is currently sitting in the General Fund.

As for just how much a new main library would cost, in 2000 a consultant estimated that it would cost $40 million to build a new 185,000-square-foot facility. In 2010, the idea for a new main library resurfaced, but by then, the projected construction cost had ballooned to $118 million.

"We're in the dreaming stage right now," Booe told Boise Weekly in December 2012. "Our library, as anybody who has been here knows, the main library is quite cramped. We need to do some things to update this facility for the 21st century."


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