The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) has issued a Request for Proposal from qualified firms who want to partner on a mixed-use development of a new Martin Luther King branch library at 310 W. Locust St.
"We have been working to improve the library experience by removing barriers and changing the way people think about libraries and what they offer," said Library Director Paula Kiely. "This includes modernizing our spaces so we can advance our mission to help patrons read, learn and connect."
The library 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 building should utilize creative place-making methods and architecture to engage library patrons, neighbors and pedestrians alike.
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.
"Our plan for a mixed-used development for the Martin Luther King branch demonstrates my commitment to a comprehensive library replacement plan," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "I am looking forward to working with Milwaukee Public Library staff and private developers to bring educational resources, new job opportunities and innovative technology to children and families in the Harambee neighborhood."
This plan follows the successful replacement of the Villard Avenue and East Branch libraries with new, mixed-use buildings and the complete renovation of the Tippecanoe library. Mayor Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee Common Council and the Library Board of Trustees have identified $18 million for library redevelopment which has been allocated to the Forest Home, Mill Road, Capitol and Martin Luther King branches.
By 2020, it is expected that MPL will have replaced or updated the entire system with 21st century, technology-rich facilities.
Alderwoman Milele Coggs of the Sixth District added, "MLK Library serves as a stable resource to many residents of the Bronzeville community. This RFP will serve as a unique opportunity to enhance a structure that is so vital to the neighborhood. I look forward to the many responses to the RFP that will continue the revitalization of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive."