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MINNEAPOLIS-Plans for hiring a construction manager and architect for a $122-million, 400,000-sf central library are progressing while board members ponder whether it might make more sense to build the new library on a different site. That way, an interim library would be unnecessary.

The library will also include:

* About 10,000 sf of retail space on the library block for retail tenants, including such potential uses as coffee shop, library gift store, to lure customers or patrons from along Nicollet Mall and Hennepin Avenue.

* A planetarium ranging from 200 to 250 seats.

* About 200 to 225 housing units with parking located on the non-library site to be developed by a private-sector developer. This project is expected toinclude 20,000 sf of retail space on the housing site for retail providing neighborhood goods and services.

* Parking for both library customers and residential users.

The Minneapolis Public Library Board will hold a public meeting Aug. 1 to review proposals from seven architectural firms hoping to land the design contract for the new library. The seven firms include Ellerbe Becker with Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, both from Minneapolis; Cesar Pelli & Associates of New Haven, CT.; UN Studio van Berkel & Bos of Amsterdam with Fox $ Fowle Architects of New York; Gwathmey Siegel &Associates of New York with Bentz/Thompson/Rietow of Minneapolis; Rafael Vinoly Architects of New York; RSP Architects of Minneapolis with Hardy Holzman Pfeifferof New York; and Will Bruder Architects of Phoenix with Hammel Green & Abrahamson of Minneapolis.

Some library board members are suggesting the library be built on an alternative site so the $10 million or so for an interim library would not be necessary.

These options will likely be discussed at the next board meeting on Aug. 8

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