Friends of the Mount Rainier Library & Artspace

Special Meeting

January 16, 2000

I. Chris: This meeting will be gratifying and frustrating at the same time; it's early in the process of working together. A library would be a great addition to the Mount Rainier Artspace project; all involved have "entreated" Artspace to include a library.

II. The timetable is rushed. The governor and others are term-limited and are pressuring Artspace to apply for low-income-housing tax credits by April 2001, instead of April 2002. Artspace has short-, medium-, and long-range possibilities for occupancy from 2002 to 2003. We probably have all of this year to work together to find the solution that works best for the library. Artspace's ability to attract funds will impact the FOL/Artspace relationship.

III. In Mount Rainier, a prominent location on Route 1 is the chosen site for the Artspace project. There really is no Plan B location. The site now has multiple owners. Artspace is working on getting appraisals for the lots in question, but it wants the city's approval before starting site acquisition. The Redevelopment Authority, Artspace, and a broker will be working together on options-to-buy.

IV. A wide range for the library build-out is from $1 to $2.5 million. There would be cost savings for the library by locating in the Artspace building. No low-income-housing tax credit money could go directly to library construction, but site acquisition, engineering and environmental studies, shared artists' space, and other costs could be partially covered by tax credits.

V. Artspace's marketing study shows that there is much more demand than supply for artists' live/work spaces. These spaces will be rentals for at least 15 years; the market study shows that utilizing low-income-housing tax credits is "the way to go," and they have strict criteria, one of which is that the spaces be rentals, with a 15-year compliance period.

VI. Look to the County for an answer on ownership. Artspace has a 22-year history of designing and making municipal projects work.

VII. GCDC will know within two weeks whether it will be working with Bob McNulty and Partners for Livable Communities as consultants. If so, Bob himself would be taking the lead on the library component of the Mount Rainier Artspace project.

VIII. We should all let the State Delegation work out the FOL and Artspace/GCDC requests, rather than worry that we may be seen as "double-dipping." We do all need to consider other financing options, though, as our state bond bill requests may not come through.

IX. FOL needs to ask GCDC for development help. Artspace already has an architecture firm in mind for the live/work component of the Mount Rainier project.

X. It's often difficult, but architects-of-record and consultants can work together, as long as designs do not negatively impact the functioning of the building.

XI. Ongoing maintenance and upkeep go with options of ownership.

XII. What level of commitment might the County Library System give to a combined Artspace/library project? Bob McNulty would point out that the County WANTS to serve the community. Pursue ideas that will attract the County to a new library; offer "more than four walls." When the conversation between FOL and the County starts, Artspace would be happy to take part.

XIII. The County library budget cycle runs July 1 to June 30; the budget for 2002 is already set. The dialogue for the 2003 budget should start by this summer.

XIV. In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), what are the non-negotiables? How do the MOUs we are looking at address the negotiables?

XV. FOL is seeking funding for legal counsel. GCDC has also sought help; check with Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, among other groups.

XVI. Let's schedule another meeting between FOL and Artspace when Chris returns in March.

XVII. John spoke of a green building as not wasting energy, not necessarily costing more to build and maintain, and being healthy for its users. Integrated design is a unique kind of thing; it is best to start integrating at the beginning stages of planning.

XVIII. Jim spoke of his interest in this project: He is an architect into community work; he went to school in Minnesota, so he knows of Artspace; he was a librarian as well. He is not in favor of demolition, but believes in deconstruction and the recycling of materials. He hopes that GCDC/Artspace will favor local artists when it comes time to rent the spaces.