Graham Kilmer

Three Great New Libraries Coming

Three new neighborhood libraries all use new approach of mixed-used development.

By - Feb 16th, 2017 03:44 pm
Good Hope Road Branch. Rendering (Version 3) by Engberg Anderson.

Good Hope Road Branch. Rendering (Version 3) by Engberg Anderson.

With three new mixed-use developments in various states of development, the Milwaukee Public Library system will see a succession of new libraries opening over the next three years.

One building is currently under construction and developers for the other two are organizing financing and designs.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be working on three projects at once,” says Milwaukee Public Library construction project manager Sam McGovern-Rowen.

Forest Home Branch

Since Fall 2016, construction has been underway on a new library at 910 W. Historic Mitchell Street, and is now revealing the historic features of the building.

The library should be completed and open to the public by late summer or early fall, says McGovern-Rowen.

If you were to tour the building now, “You would see the historic features revealed and taken back to its original state when it was built in 1926,” he notes.

When completed this branch will be the largest library in the system with 23,000 square-feet spanning three levels.

As a mixed use development, the project will also include 60 apartments above the library, along with eight townhouse units behind the building.

The main floor of the building, which was previously compartmentalized into smaller offices and stores, has been opened up to reveal an expansive room filled with natural light.

High ceilings and ornate column capitals are seeing the light of day now that a drop ceiling was removed, restoring about eight feet of ceiling height. Crews also removed carpeting from the building revealing original terrazzo floors.

A mezzanine overlooking the main floor was also exposed as crews took down drywall throughout the building.

Gorman & Company was contracted for the first floor demolition and renovations restoring the building’s original character, as well as construction for the apartments above.

Scherrer Construction, a company from Burlington, is building the inside of the library.

Most of the construction in the new library will go into modernizing the electrical and data capabilities of the building. Says McGovern-Rowen: “It’s gonna be really cool.”

910 W. Historic Mitchell St.


Good Hope Road Branch

Developers still are pulling together financing and the Library staff is taking design proposals for the new library and apartments at 7717 W. Good Hope Rd.

Right now, Maures Development Group, LLC and Royal Capital Group, LLC are in the process of applying for low-income housing tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority for 55 mixed-income units above the new library.

If awarded the credits, they should have them by late May or early June, McGovern-Rowen estimates.

Engberg Anderson architecture was hired by developers for the apartments. The city is contracting an architect for the interior of the library, and has an open request for proposals. McGovern-Rowen says the library will have a decision in March.

The plan, right now, is for a 17,000 square-foot library. And an approximate timeline would see it open in Fall 2018. But that requires getting the tax credits during this application round.

Designs (Version 3)

Martin Luther King Jr. Branch

Development of the Martin Luther King Jr. Branch is in its early stages.

Young Development Group, LLC, which won the contract in December, is working on a preliminary market study and construction financing for the building at 310 W. Locust St., McGovern-Rowen explains.

The project is Young Development’s first project, and their proposal would see 44 market-rate residential units stacked on top of a new 17,000 square foot library.

McGovern-Rowen says it is very early in the process for a timeline, but believes the library could open by 2019.


Categories: Real Estate

4 thoughts on “Three Great New Libraries Coming”

  1. BJ Ermenc says:

    Great news for Milwaukee! Libraries are a vital, free resource for everyone in our information age.
    I do hope the presentation areas are being looped for the hard of hearing. Hearing Loops ( are a universal standard induction system that allows everyone with telecoils in their hearing aids and cochlear implants to hear directly from microphones. They require minimal ongoing maintenance and are easy for users. Receivers with headphones are also available for the hard of hearing who cannot afford hearing aids (a sorry situation in this country).
    Thanks for all of the details on these three upcoming facilities!

  2. Molly O says:

    Yes! Libraries are great for our community.

  3. Anne Stadler Vaillancourt says:

    Libraries provide so many resources for the communities they serve. This great for the Milwaukee. Thank you.

  4. Oz says:

    Libraries are great but not when low income housing are being built near single family communities. More thugs will make their way into our communities.

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