Over the last year, a task force has been working on a plan to create an ambitious new destination library for downtown Austin, This flagship facility would incorporate world class architecture and a prime downtown location to create a dramatic new public space that will be a prime asset for downtown denizens.
The big question has revolved around location — what is the best available spot to realize this vision? A new consensus seems to be emerging around a prime lake-front lot between Seaholm and the current site of the Green Water Treatment Plant. The location — currently an electrical substation — is adjacent to the beautiful art deco Seaholm power plant structure which is set for mixed use redevelopment over the next few years, The facility is currently being decommissioned in preparation for redevelopment. On the other side, the Green water treatment parcel is in the earliest stages of development — initial plans have not even been drafted.
Graphic Source: Austin Chronicle
Here is a summary from the Chronicle:
“So many parcels, so many plans! For the new central library, the site now proposed and favored by library advocates and the city is the current site of the Seaholm substation, an Austin Energy facility that fronts on Cesar Chavez, between West Avenue and Shoal Creek. Library advocates are excited about the location, where a stand-alone destination library (envisioned as world-class architecture) would overlook Lady Bird Lake. That signature structure would be flanked to the west by the redeveloped Seaholm Power Plant site and to the east by a four-block, high-rise redevelopment on the Green Water Treatment Plant site. Shifting the library from the Green site proper, said Council Member Brewster McCracken, will accelerate the project’s schedule – with a design competition now slated for 2008. “They’re a huge winner on this,” he said of the library, which also gains parking and site preparation in the deal.”