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West library branch opening delayed

Highlights:

  • Soil problems delay opening of West branch library by six months.
  • Library to be constructed in a sustainable fashion.
  • Denver paid $985,000 for library site on West Colfax Avenue.
West Branch Library.

West Branch Library is being designed by Studiotrope Design Collective.

Residents near West Colfax Avenue will have to wait a little longer for the long-awaited West Denver Branch Library.

The sleek, modern-looking and energy-efficient library to be constructed at West Colfax Avenue and Irving Street will open about six months later than anticipated, said Councilwoman Susan Shepherd. The new library is in District 1, which Shepherd represents.

“Basically, the soils are softer than originally anticipated,” Shepherd said last week. “Because of that, they are going to have to do put in what is known as a structural slab, instead of a slab on grade.”

The structural slabs will be reinforced and connected to bedrock to guard against the danger of cracking or heaving when the building settles, Shepherd said.

“Nothing else about the building is going to change,” she said.” Basically, it is the redesign of the foundation, but not the rest of the building.”

The building now is anticipated to open in the spring of 2014, instead of this fall, Shepherd said.

The architect for the building is Studiotrope Design Collective.

The architectural firm, on its website, said the library will be “an incubator for growth” and “will embrace its urban setting by establishing highly active zones along the historic Colfax Avenue thoroughfare.”

The firm also said that the library will “set a new standard in sustainability.”
 Studiotrope Design Collective is embracing what it calls a “Library as Greenhouse” concept for the 26,000-square-foot building.

“The building will include a three-story plenum wall that “behaves like a light, water and air filter for the building and its occupants,” according to Studiotrope Design. “The WALL (the firm’s emphasis) in combination with a raised floor system, will safeguard water, facilitate a passive displacement ventilation system, invite and filter natural daylight into the library, and showcase the building’s automated systems.”

Last year, Denver paid $985,000 to the Urban Land Conservancy for the 0.86-acre site for the new library. The parcel is considered a transit oriented development site because it is within a quarter-mile of both the Knox and Federal/Decatur light-rail stations scheduled to open this year. Some residents had favored incorporating the new library into the St. Anthony’s campus redevelopment near Sloan’s Lake. The former hospital site is being redeveloped into a residential and commercial development by the Environmental Financial Group. The demolition of most of the former hospital buildings on the site is expected to take about a year.

Shepherd wasn’t sure how much the delay would add to the cost of the West library branch.

“There is a funding contingency set-aside, which is expected to cover everything that is needed,” she said.

The library represents the final capital improvement project for northwest Denver from a 2007 bond initiative approved by voters, Shepherd said.

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Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at  JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.