North Shore Library's new location, one component of an $84 million mixed-use development under construction in Bayside, has received a $4 million gift from the project’s developer.
Bayside Development Partners II LLC, an affiliate of Cobalt Partners LLC, announced on Wednesday its commitment to the new library, which represents about half of the project's $8 million fundraising goal.
The gift is intended to fund the new North Shore Library’s approximately 24,000-square-foot core and shell space, which will be located within a new building adjacent to an outdoor plaza. The larger development will also include offices, retail, restaurants, residential units and a hotel. It’s being built on 27 acres at the northwest corner of Brown Deer and Port Washington roads.
“We want this development to be a hub of activity in the community and having a library here will add to its liveliness and serve the area’s long-standing need to upgrade the community library,” said Scott Yauck, president and chief executive officer of Cobalt. “We are fully invested in the success of this area, and the library is a big part of that commitment.”
The new library would replace the current location 6800 N. Port Washington Road in Glendale, which was built in 1986. The new library is expected to have at least 50% more space than the current location.
“We’re grateful that Bayside Development Partners II has stepped up with such a generous gift, which will enable us to continue the library’s mission of providing the education, knowledge, tools and community spaces that are so important to our area,” said Bayside village president Eido Walny.
Walny said the gift provides the momentum for raising the remaining $4 million, which will be used to furnish and equip the interior of the new library.
Former Major League Baseball commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig and philanthropist Marianne Lubar are leading the capital campaign for the new library.
“The new North Shore Library will offer so much more to our community than a place to store books,” Selig said. “It will be a place to come together and meaningfully connect with one another. A place that inspires imagination and ignites passion for learning in old and young alike.”
Marianne Lubar and her husband, Sheldon, are longtime Bayside residents and have contributed to many arts- and education-related causes in the region.
“I am proud and excited to be part of this new beginning for the North Shore Library,” said Lubar. “Libraries are the most democratic institutions in the world. Everyone is welcome, help is available in almost any area of life and the rules are the same for everyone.”
Construction of the new library is expected to start in the third quarter of 2022 and be completed in 12 to 18 months.
The larger development has generated controversy since it was first proposed. A group of Bayside residents has filed two lawsuits against the village over the incentives it’s providing for the project and the accessibility of the public meeting during which the board approved the developer’s agreement and incentives.
In late 2021, the Bayside officials approved a $34.9 million financing incentive by way of creating a tax incremental financing district, the village's first.
Earlier plans for the development included a 30-story residential tower, which were met with criticism from residents and didn't move forward. Then, another, shorter apartment tower was proposed but those plans were withdrawn.
The current plans for the development call for 300,000 square feet of new office space, a 100-room hotel and up to 650 residential units, which would be a mix of apartments and townhouse-style units, in addition to the library.