Posted by: bluesyemre | May 30, 2018

Super #library in #Ottawa (Canada) projected to be done in 2024 at new cost of $174.8 million

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The City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission hired a planning firm to come up with a preliminary development plan for the future central library site at 557 Wellington St. and the land to the west, near the Pimisi LRT station.

The estimated cost of a super library on LeBreton Flats is now $174.8 million and the City of Ottawa will need to borrow $80 million to help cover its end of the development deal with Library and Archives Canada, a new report says.

The completion year is 2024, which adds an additional year to the last estimated timeline.

The city on Tuesday revealed its financing plan for a joint municipal flagship library and Library and Archives building. Construction costs have gone up by $6.8 million since the last high-level estimate. The city says it has refined the costs and also taken into account construction inflation since the last estimate.

Selling the current main library building will help the city afford a new library.

The city is poised to make $20 million off the sale of the current flagship Ottawa Public Library property at the corner of Laurier Avenue and Metcalfe Street, knocking down the municipal cost of the project. Slate Properties, which leases the air rights above the library parking garage for an office tower and leases the parking garage, is the proposed buyer.

The city is proposing to direct an additional $1 million from library reserves and $3.2 million from development charges to the super library.

The city notes the proposed $80 million in additional debt is lower than the $95-million debt projection in 2017.

According to the report, the borrowing would mean property taxpayers would be on the hook for $6.43 million in annual debt servicing costs, but the city has already found a source of funds to offset the costs. The city is cancelling a commercial and industrial tax rebate program for vacant units, freeing up $6.9 million starting in 2019.

“Staff believe this is the maximum debt authority needed, and they will continue to identify any potential funding sources that might further reduce the debt financing required for this project,” the report says.

The OPL is also researching the possibility of launching a fundraising campaign.

In total, the city would pay $104.2 million and Library and Archives would pay $70.6 million for the project.

The current LRT work site at 557 Wellington St., at the east end of LeBreton Flats, will be home to the super library. The city owns the property, but Library and Archives would pay $3.49 million for its 39-per-cent slice of the land.

The city proposes to build a 200-space underground parking garage, with $18.1 million budgeted for that part of the project. Since the city would own the garage and have sole responsibility to fund the construction, it would use the parking revenues to help pay for the construction and operation of the garage, the report says. The city says the number of parking spots is on the low end of what a consultant said would be necessary for peak times.

(There will also be at least 120 covered bicycle parking spaces on the property.

The Pimisi LRT station is just west of the site.

The city announced in April the five groups competing for the design contract, which is scheduled to be awarded in the fall before the design process begins in 2019. First, the teams are being invited to respond to a request for proposals. The city wants a facility to meet, at minimum, the LEED Gold standard for environmental performance.

Mayor Jim Watson campaigned in 2014 on a new private-public partnership for the library after the OPL started researching the P3 idea. Later, as the OPL and city investigated project models, they learned Library and Archives was interested in partnering on a joint facility. A consultant working for the OPL concluded a P3 project wasn’t the best option for a municipal library.

City council in February 2017 approved the super library project with Library and Archives without addressing questions about financing and parking. The city waited until the federal government committed to the partnership. The federal budget released in February 2018 confirmed Library and Archives’ involvement.

Council’s approval of the report would mean the city is going all-in on a new municipal library, rather than fixing the existing main library downtown.

An architectural study determined the city would need to spend up to $70 million to renovate the existing library to suit the OPL’s needs. The OPL board and city decided for that price it might as well build a new library.

The finance and economic development committee will consider the super library report next Tuesday.

jwilling@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JonathanWilling

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/super-library-projected-to-be-done-in-2024-at-new-cost-of-174-8-million


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