Jan. 20, 2015 By Christian Murray
A ground breaking on the Hunters Point Library could happen as early as this spring.
The city has the funding it needs to start construction, according to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
“The funding problem has been solved so we can begin construction,” Van Bramer said, although he added that he will have to add funding midway through the 2-year project.
“Hopefully there will be shovels in the ground …and I would hope we could begin construction in the first half of this year.”
Construction of the library, which will be built at Center Blvd/48th Ave (next to Gantry Plaza State Park) was expected to begin in 2013. However, there have been several delays due to the inability of the city to find a contractor willing to build it for the $28.6 million that had been allocated.
The bids came in ranging from $33 million to $42 million and the city had to do some value engineering in order to find a construction company that could build it within budget.
Officials said that they had to get rid of some of the more elaborate features to reduce the cost by about $5 million. They included replacing the aluminum exterior facade with cement and glass; forgoing custom interior fixtures; and going without the geothermal well system.
However, the library will feature a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city skyline, a garden, a gallery, a conference room, a computer center and youth and teen spaces. The 21,500 square-foot facility will be largely a glass and cement structure.
Van Bramer said that while there was some value engineering, the changes would be merely cosmetic. “I think the project that will ultimately be built will be architecturally significant and a spectacular addition to the Hunters Point Community.”
Meanwhile, Mark Christie, who is the president of the Friends of Hunters Point Library, said: “I see this as the crown jewel of the Queens Library system.”
“It’s a beacon for the community—an inspiration for people, which will be a great community center especially as Hunters Point grows,” Christie said.