Proposal calls for new Walker Library to be part of health clinic, hotel

One developer’s proposal for a new Walker Library, released today, would incorporate it into a mixed-use building complete with a health clinic, hotel and hundreds of additional parking spaces.

The $20 million project, named the Greenway Center, is the vision of Uptown Community Partners, LLC.

Plans call for replacing the existing library by 2012 with a new 20,000-square-foot one that spans the Midtown Greenway from the mall area to the YWCA parking garage. Above the library, the development would include a 10,000-square-foot health facility. Two additional levels of parking would add 200 spaces and an outdoor track would be built atop the garage roof.

A second phase, planned for completion in 2013, would use the existing Walker Library site for a five-story mixed-use building. The first floor would be used as retail space and the top four would serve as a 120-room hotel.

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Last year, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted to dedicate $12 million in capital funds toward construction of a new Walker Library. That spurred the creation of a community advisory committee that’s been tasked to develop a vision for the future, a vision that will inform the county when it later sends out a request for proposals.

County Commissioner Gail Dorfman said the Greenway Center idea has no special standing right now. The proposal, she said, is exactly what it is — just a proposal.

The future of the library will be residents-driven, not developer-driven.

"We’re sticking to that," Dorfman said.