The New York Public Library (NYPL) has been given the green light to move-ahead with their $200 million renovation of their Mid-Manhattan branch at 40th Street and 5th Avenue as well as a $317 million renovation of the iconic property across the street at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Bryant Park. Both renovations will be overseen by Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle. The NYPL won a lawsuit against a neighboring condo building that was delaying construction on the Mid-Manhattan branch; in August 2017, the NYPL filed a lawsuit against a neighboring condo building, 445 Fifth Avenue, which was holding up construction by levying a $15,000 per month fee on the library. Condo board members at 445 Fifth Avenue demanded that the NYPL pay for construction workers to access the condo in order to hang scaffolding and other safety equipment. The case reached the Manhattan Supreme Court where a judge ruled in favor of the NYPL. The NYPL received a $55 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in September 2017 and upon opening the branch will be named after the donors. The renovation is expected to cost $200 million and will increase capacity, enhance services and visitor experience as well as the addition of 35% more public space to the building.Completion of the Mid-Manhattan branch is expected for early 2020 and will feature an adult learning center; science, industry, children's and business libraries; an employment skills center, and over 11,000 SF of multipurpose space for events and classes.
“New Yorkers will soon have the central circulating library that they need and deserve,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “This library will transform lives by providing books, classes, and programs for New Yorkers of all ages, and it will transform our city – as it will be a model for how libraries can strengthen communities.”
The New York Public Library has also revealed plans for their $317 million renovation of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, their iconic main branch on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The transformation will also be overseen by Mecanoo with Beyer Blinder Belle with an emphasis on accessibility to the library including a new 40th street entrance, a new cafe, as well as a 20% increase public space for research, exhibitions and educational programs. Exciting additions include a Lenox and Astor Room which will feature books and artwork donated on behalf of longtime benefactor Brooke Astor.
“The Master Plan builds on the framework of this historic building and icon of New York City architecture,” said Beyer Blinder Belle’s Elizabeth Leber. “We are seeking to instill clarity and ease of circulation, and to support new uses and programs, while only enhancing its significant architectural features.”