APPLETON - File this story under “Appleton Public Library: The Next Chapter.”
In a proposal selected out of eight submissions, a new $29.8 million library structure could be part of a mixed-used development on the site of the current Soldiers Square parking ramp in downtown Appleton.
That ramp is along Lawrence Street between Oneida and Morrison.
The building would also include about 100 apartments or condos plus office or retail spaces, putting the building's taxable portion at $22 million.
The library's $29.8 million building price tag does not include additional costs to finish and furnish the interior, some of which will be covered by private fundraising.
The winning proposal, from Commercial Horizons' Paul Klister and his sons Dan and Tom, was selected by Appleton city staff out of eight library proposals received in January.
“It’s clearly a work in progress,” Klister said. “This has not been blessed by city council. It will be a team effort.”
Klister estimated construction could begin this fall and the library would be complete by May 2020.
The project’s value escalates to $66 million when future phases add about 200 more apartments or condos, a restaurant and a new $26.7 million public parking ramp south of the YMCA.
The release from the city did not specify what additional commercial buildings or residences would be acquired for future phases of the project.
Mayor Tim Hanna was not available for comment late Thursday, but said in a prepared statement that the Klister proposal was the strongest because it “addressed the needs we set forth and brought us a project that we believe will be a transformative development for the downtown.”
Klister said the development has the potential to revitalize a portion of downtown and tie together the riverfront, YMCA, Houdini Plaza, the bluff and Jones Park, which is in the process of being redesigned.
The recommendation will be reviewed at a joint meeting of the Finance Committee and the Appleton Public Library Building and Equipment Committee Monday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. That meeting is open to the public and can also be watched live on the city’s website, appleton.org.
Those committees will vote on the proposal at a future meeting and forward their recommendation to the Common Council and Library Board of Trustees.
In the plan, a temporary surface parking lot will be created south of the YMCA while the Soldiers Square ramp is torn down. According to the city release, the project has the support of the YMCA, which owns the Soldiers Square ramp.
It is also near the new U.S. Venture headquarters slated to be constructed on the Michiels Fox Banquets property.
The Klister-led team on the library project includes Miron Construction, Eppstein Uhen, OPN and Founders 3.