Aug. 22, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
The Hunters Point Library will finally open next month after years of delays.
The library will officially open on Tuesday, Sept. 24, with a ribbon cutting ceremony planned for the same day.
The 22,000 square foot library has been under construction since 2015 and features an elaborate concrete-block design. The building, which is 81 1/2 feet tall, was designed by Steven Holl Architects and includes giant windows to take advantage of the East River views.
The project has been plagued with delays and budget problems since its inception.
The branch was first slated to open in 2014, with an initial groundbreaking in 2013.
However, that proposed opening date was pushed back until 2017 since the city couldn’t find a contractor to take on the elaborate job at the project’s initial budget of $28 million.
The city simplified the design of the project to reduce the cost in order to find a contractor. It also increased the project’s budget to $33 million in 2015 to further entice contractors. The project, however, still experienced further delays.
The targeted completion date was pushed back again since their were construction problems. For instance, there were issues getting specialized glass shipped in from Europe due to labor strikes in Spain in early 2017. When the glass eventually arrived, there were issues installing it.
Furthermore, the project’s general contractor, Triton Structural, had financial issues. In July 2018, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said that the company had failed to pay its subcontractors, which stopped work on the library for a period.
The library, which has cost taxpayers about $40 million, was last scheduled to open in February 2019, but that was pushed back until the end of summer.
Van Bramer said that, while there had been numerous delays, the opening of the library next month was a cause for joy and celebration.
“While there have been moments of great frustration with delays,” Van Bramer said. “I know that generations of children and families will benefit because we stayed the course, invested the money, and saw this project to its completion.”
The library will house over 50,000 books and will feature a cyber-center, a children’s room, a quiet room and a community room capable of holding 200 people. The library also features a rooftop area with seating.
The Hunters Point branch will be the first library added to the Queens Public Library system since it opened the Long Island City branch on 21st Street in 2007.
— Queens Public Library (@QPLNYC) August 22, 2019