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Milwaukee Public Library is planning to rebuild the Capitol branch library within a mixed-use development. (PHOTO: Milwaukee Public Library)

MPL issues RFP for mixed-use Capitol Library replacement

With just a couple days left in 2018, the Milwaukee Public Library issued a Request for Proposals from potential partners to create a mixed-use development to replace the current Capitol Library, 3969 N. 74th St.

A public input session for the project was held in late November.

MPL aims to build a new library branch in a mixed-use development that would also include housing, retail, office or other space, along the lines of similar developments constructed or under construction on the East Side, on Mitchell Street, on Villard Avenue and on Good Hope/Mill Road.

The RFP does not require that the new library occupy the site of the current branch. It must, however, be located within "about one mile" of it. The Forest Home and Mill Road branches do not occupy the site of the libraries they replaced.

The current library opened in 1964 and was renovated in 1995.

"MPL is changing the way people think about libraries while we continue to help patrons read, learn and connect." said Library Director Paula Kiely in a statement issued Dec. 28. "We are improving the library experience with more flexible and open floor plans, better technology, and exciting new features such as our makerspaces at Mitchell Street and at the new Good Hope branch when it opens in 2019."

Proposals are due to MPL Library Construction Project Manager Sam McGovern-Rowen by Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 4 p.m. Details can be found here.

MPL says it is "seeking a catalytic development that not only provides a 21st century, technology-rich building for residents, but improves the economic vitality of the neighborhood. The proposal should feature the new library as the most visible component of a mixed-use project. The non-library component(s) must be housing, retail, office or another commercial use as long as the use is appropriate for co-location with a public library, and should strive to add to the tax base for the City of Milwaukee."

According to the statement, Mayor Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee Common Council and the Library Board of Trustees have earmarked $18 million for library redevelopment at the Forest Home, Mill Road, Capitol and Martin Luther King branches, and within the next three years, MPL expects to have, "updated the entire system with 21st century, technology-rich facilities."

"Our plan for a mixed-used development for the Capitol branch is the next step in our comprehensive library replacement strategy," said Barrett. "Our public/private partnerships on these mixed-use library projects have added millions of dollars in tax base to the City of Milwaukee and hundreds of new apartment homes. With this new project, City government, Milwaukee Public Library staff, and private developers will add educational resources, new job opportunities and advanced technology for children and families in the area near the Capitol branch."


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