Residents of the Hunters Point section of Long Island City will have to wait longer for their public library — perhaps several years.
Groundbreaking for the 21,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art waterfront library was supposed to take place last summer with completion scheduled for 2015, but now the entire project is in limbo.
In a letter to Friends of Queens Library at Hunters Point, Thomas Galante, the beleaguered president and CEO of Queens Library, wrote that the building project was vastly under-budget at $28.6 million with a construction budget of just $23 million. When construction bids came in, they ranged from $33 million to $42 million.
Galante wrote of “the overall complexity of the design and several unique, difficult to source, or expensive to procure, interior and design features.” Celebrity architect Steven Holl’s plans were too elaborate, with features that included a rooftop terrace, gardens and a gallery, he said. If and when the library is built on the parcel of land at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue, next to Gantry Plaza State Park, it will not resemble the original plans.
In the letter, Galante said there would be significant design changes. Gone is the Geothermal Well system in favor of a more traditional heating and cooling system. The aluminum exterior facade will now be cement and glass and custom interior fixtures are replaced with standard fixtures. In all, the changes save $4.7 million.
The entire project will be open to rebids by “a new and more extensive list of contractors,” Galante wrote.