Milwaukee Public Library
Press Release

Milwaukee Public Library Seeks Development Partners

Issues Request for Proposal for Forest Home and Mill Road Libraries

By - Nov 5th, 2014 04:53 pm
Mill Road Library. Photo courtesy of MPL.

Mill Road Library. Photo courtesy of MPL.

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) today released a Request for Proposal (RFP) to seek proposals from developers who want to partner on a mixed-use development for the Forest Home or Mill Road branch libraries. This follows a Request for Interest (RFI), which was released in August of this year and resulted in several viable submissions.

The two libraries are located at:

Forest Home Library. Photo courtesy of MPL.

Forest Home Library. Photo courtesy of MPL.

“We are excited to move this project forward by taking the next steps toward a development partnership,” said Library Director Paula Kiely. “Over the next six years, MPL will replace four of our neighborhood libraries with mixed-use buildings starting with Forest Home and Mill Road. By the end of the year we will have a plan and a partner for the replacement of these two highly utilized community resources.”

The library is seeking a catalytic development that not only provides a 21st-century, technology-rich library for residents, but improves the economic vitality of the neighborhood.  The proposal should elevate the library’s presence in the community as a “third place” through its use of materials and a signature design.

“Our branch libraries are the nerve centers of our neighborhoods,” Alderman José Pérez said. “I look forward to working with residents to ensure that the Forest Home branch library meets their needs and desires, as well as the jobs and economic development that this construction project will create.”

“The Mill Road branch library has been a heavily utilized community resource for many years, but it is an outdated facility​,” Alderman Robert Puente said. “The prospect of a new, technology-enhanced mixed use library for the northwest side is exciting, and I look forward to seeing what proposals come forward.”

Villard Square. Photo courtesy of MPL.

Villard Square. Photo courtesy of MPL.

This plan follows the successful replacement of the Villard Avenue and East branch libraries with new mixed-use buildings.  The Milwaukee Public Library’s Villard Square Branch opened in October 2011.  The new East Branch is scheduled to open November 22, 2014.

Mayor Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee Common Council and the Library Board of Trustees have identified $18 million for the library redevelopment project. MPL anticipates spending $4.5 million on each of the four libraries slated for redevelopment – Forest Home, Mill Road, Capitol and Martin Luther King. In all, five branch libraries will be renovated or replaced. The Tippecanoe Library will be fully renovated, but remain in the same building. The renovation is currently in the design phase and will begin construction in early 2015.  The total amount budgeted for the five libraries in $22.4 million.

“Libraries are and will continue to be a funding priority,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “An investment in our libraries is an investment in building a strong Milwaukee with vibrant neighborhoods and business districts.”

Our libraries are the places where we develop lifelong learners starting from birth.  They are the places where people connect to each other and to jobs and possibilities.”

By 2020, we’ll have replaced or updated our entire branch system with 21st century, technology-rich facilities many of which will be part of a multi-use facility.”

Developers may submit questions to Project Manager of Library Construction Sam McGovern-Rowen until Tuesday, November 11th at close of business. Questions and answers will be made available to the public on the library’s website (

Proposals are due by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, November 18th via electronic submission. Complete details can be found on

RFP schedule:

  • Proposals due on Tuesday, November 18th at 5:00 pm by email to
  • 10 printed copies of the proposal must be submitted to Sam McGovern-Rowen, Milwaukee Public Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., 3rd Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53233 on Thursday, November 20th by noon.
  • Developer teams will present proposals to the community and MPL Building and Development committee on Tuesday, December 2nd at 5:30 pm at Forest Home Library, 1432 W. Forest Home Ave.
  • Developer teams will present proposals to the community and MPL Building and Development Committee on Tuesday, December 9th at 5:30 pm at Mill Road Library, 6431 N. 76th St.
  • MPL Board of Trustees to vote on RFP award recommendations from committee on Monday, December 16th at 4:30 pm. (tentative date)
  • Target date for library project construction fall of 2015.

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