If you were hoping to take out a book in Hunters Point, you’ll have to wait a bit longer.
In a letter to Friends of Queens Library at Hunters Point, Thomas Galante, the president of Queens Library, wrote that the bids to build the structure were way over budget so certain modifications are being made to bring the price-tag back down.
“We know the Hunters Point community deserves a world class library,” Galante wrote. “In August 2013, the bids came back from the construction firms and were significantly over budget.
“Since then, the Library has worked with [Department of Design and Construction] to take several steps to move the project forward ...”
The creation by architect Steven Holl is designed to “highlight the view of the Manhattan skyline and Roosevelt Island.” According to the library, that plan will still hold but with minor substitutions.
These changes include replacing the geothermal well system with a more traditional heating and cooling system, replacing the expensive aluminum exterior with concrete and metallic paint and substituting custom interior fixtures — including lights — with standard ones.
In total, the modifications may yield $4.7 million in cost savings, bringing the price tag closer to the original construction budget of $23 million.
“This is certainly a delay that no one wants and that I’m not happy about but I do believe that the project can get done in a timely manner,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “Building a brand new, state-of-the-art library as unique as this one will always take some time to build and I understand the community’s perspective. They’re frustrated and have been waiting for a long time but I’m committed to seeing this project through.”
There have been reports that the project will not be completed on schedule by 2015 and could take up to several years to finish.
A petition has even been started requesting a mobile book service to be implemented while construction is underway.
“Putting the project out to bid again will cause a six- to eight- month delay tops,” King said. “And all of the services we promised to provide at the facility will still be part of the plan.”
King reported that the building will still look very much the same and that claims of drastic redesigns to the building are untrue. She also mentioned that the Court Square branch will be expanding to the nearby Citibank building at 25-01 Jackson Ave. The 2,000-sqaure-foot space was donated by the bank.
Holl’s design will still be used and once a bid is chosen, developers will begin to break ground on the project.
“When this library opens, it will be a focal point for the community,” Van Bramer said. “It will be a gathering place, a community center all in one. The intended effect is to bring people together. We have an explosion of young families and kids in the area and with all of these new schools, these children need a library to go to after school to continue their library process. It’s going to be spectacular.”
Contractor bids must be submitted by the spring and then the library will have a better idea of the new budget; however, Galante said “we feel it is realistic to anticipate there will be a significant [budget] gap remaining.”
How that gap will be filled is unclear, but Galante wrote that the library will pursue support from all levels of government, private funds from local sources, as well as a possible campaign to allow individuals and businesses to contribute.