A striking new community hub costing up to $130 million to build could rise on the site of the Footscray library and car park.
A feasibility report for the Footscray Library Community and Cultural Hub – NeXT Project, prepared by Architectus and released by Maribyrnong Council, identifies four concept options for the development of the Footscray Library Community and Cultural Hub.
The options range from small (6850sqm) through medium (10,250) to large (12,600) scale buildings sprawled across the Paisley Street site currently occupied by the library and two car parks.
The spaces would include a rebuilt library, programmed performing arts venue, exhibition spaces and co-working spaces, with a public park on the corner of the site.
A council report on the study states that the medium and larger scale concepts would deliver “regional benefits” and warrant funding from a combination of all government levels.
“Should the project obtain external funding approval to progress the design work in 2019/20, the next phase of schematic design could proceed during 2020/2021,” the report states.
“Any actual budget requests of Council will be subject to future consideration, approval and the realisation of significant co-funding agreements with other levels of government.”
The report suggests there is “an emerging consensus” among government stakeholders that the project would generate positive cultural and economic benefits for the creative economy in Melbourne’s west.
The concepts will now go to community and stakeholder consultation and funding requests.
Consultation would commence immediately and run through until mid-December, after which a further report will be provided to the council on feedback for the four concept design options.
While a business case considering the financial and cost analysis of each option remains commercial in confidence, capital costs revealed in the report range from $45 million to replace “like for like” to $128 million.
“At the minimum, the library could be brought to contemporary standard, however with greater investment the site could accommodate a civic park, arts and cultural activity, arts exhibition spaces, performing arts events, a range of flexible work and meeting spaces, and potentially required administrative and commercial spaces,” the report stated.
“The greater investment will bring to Footscray and the inner west a facility to support the future of civic life in the city.”
If the project obtained funding approval in coming months, it could be designed in 2020/21, constructed between 2021 and 2023 and potentially operational by 2023/24.
The project will require an estimated $2.7 million of ongoing recurrent annual funding.
The feasibility report will be considered by Maribyrnong Council on Tuesday night.