University City is expected to get a new regional library by 2025.
The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners agreed Thursday to pay $39.6 million for a 35,000-square-foot, two-story library. The majority of the money will fund acquisition of the new property, design and construction of the library on Waters Edge Village Drive in the University Place complex.
The vote was unanimous.
The remaining $3 million will go toward furniture, fixtures and equipment. Construction of the library will be done through Delaware-based developer EBA Dynamic Real Estate LLC, county documents show.
The new library branch would include a community room, youth programming room and a youth workroom along with the regular library services it would provide.
Other amenities include:
▪ A drive-thru for returns
▪ Pre-teen and teen area
▪ Study rooms
▪ Soft seating
The existing library at 301 East W.T. Harris Blvd. near the Atrium Health University Hospital has a lease that expires at the end of 2024 and will not be renewed. It has a critical need for replacement, according to county documents, and is one of the busiest locations in Charlotte’s library system, serving 11,000 customers per month.
“This is a capital project that was not part of our (Capital Investment Plan), but because of the urgency and the need to make decisions, it’s a project that the board agreed to sort of move up,” County Manager Dena Diorio said.
The new library fits into a bigger development project called University Place. The 20-acre project includes more than 300 apartment units, office, retail, lakefront park and a 1-mile pedestrian trail that runs along the man-made lake near the intersection of North Tryon Street and W.T. Harris Boulevard.
District 2 Commissioner Vilma Leake raised concerns of accessibility and proximity to public transportation.
Library officials assured Leake the building would be completely accessible for elderly and disabled people. The chosen location is 0.4 miles from the light rail station and a few blocks from four bus lines on W.T. Harris Boulevard and North Tryon Street.
“This library has been a work in progress for quite some time,” said Tobe Holmes, executive director of University City Partners. “It will at some point be the literal center of our community.”