To: William Law, Vice President for Operations, Artspace Projects, Inc
From: Fred Sissine, President, Friends of the Library (FOL)
Re: Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Date: December 1, 2001
This letter introduces a draft MOU that defines key aspects of a collaborative library development effort involving Artspace and FOL, with supportive roles for other primary
stakeholders. The document's structure follows an MOU prepared for the Portland library
project and its design aspects are based on October 31 drawings of the library design concept.
The draft MOU was reviewed by PGCMLS staff on November 8 and it was reviewed/marked up by the
City Council on November 27. We recognize that the draft is longer than you requested, but we
felt a need to clarify stakeholder responsibilities (individual and joint), management and coordination strategies, community service aspects, and financial/lease arrangements.
We look forward to a broader and deeper working relationship with Artspace. We believe
the plans for the branch Library and the Library Center offer an extraordinary opportunity
for all stakeholders. There are many valuable aspects for commercial and residential tenants, and there are several strong selling points for external audiences, including public and private
funding sources. Some key selling points include:
- Mixed-Use Model. The collaboration creates a unique model for the mid-Atlantic region, and for the nation, of a mixed-use development that combines public and piivate aspects.
- Library Presence. The project provides strong Library visibility on Rhode Island Avenue with only modest use of commercial space.
- More Leasable Space. Locating the Library/Library Center at the parking lot level would use
"found" space and increase the amount of leasable space on the commercial floor.
- Community Service Features. The Library Center concept provides access to a library, gallery. and media resource center that are of enormous value to building residents and the broader community.
- Community Support. FOL provides Artspace with a strong, proactive, grassroots group able to support all public aspects of the project.
- Funding Attraction. The Library Center, combined with community involvement generated through FOL and its partners, creates a strong community element of the building that county, state and federal funders will readily embrace.
Given the above selling points, we highlight the following points from the draft MOU:
- Development Funding Roles. The Library and Library Center elements will require public
funding, mainly for construction- and build-out-related costs. The MOU indicates that Artspace will provide space and build-out within that space, and that FOL will provide furnishings and equipment for the space. FOL will seek Federal grants for some of this activity Under these conditions, the MOU proposes that all public capital grants at the county and state level be treated as non-competitive grants to Artspace.
- Lease Arrangement. The Library/Library Center is now located primarily in "found" space at
the lower level, giving Artspace optimum commercial leasing opportunity at the Rhode Island Avenue level. Because the Library/Library Center is located in this less desirable space, we propose that it be leased to the City of Mount Rainier for $1 a year, in perpetuity.
- Community Forums. As noted in our November 5 letter by email, FOL likes the idea of a combined Artspace-FOL forum, but feels strongly that it should be preceded by Artspace leading a community input meeting/forum on the overall building and live-work concept. This should be an Artspace-produced event focused on building features, programs, community services, and how the building will otherwise relate to the community. We expect that the Library aspect may be addressed in a limited way and, in that case, see a limited role for FOL in this event. We will be happy to work with a task force to help plan and publicize a Sunday event.
- Fundraising Cooperation. FOL is pursuing independent fiindraising for the Library/Library
Center project, but we would welcome Artspace as an active collaborator in this effort. In all funddraising efforts, FOL will note that Artspace's live-work housing is the main element of the mixed-use project and that Artspace is the primary developer of arts-related buildings in the Gateway Arts District.
- We believe that this draft MOU gives a clear description of responsibilities,
strategies, services, and financial arrangements. Further,, we believe it can be a powerful
tool for public and private funding for the Mount Rainier Artspace project and for the Library Center. We hope that you agree and that we will move ahead together expeditiously to finalize the MOU and to realize this extraordinary opportunity.
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