Options still open for Superior’s Carnegie Library, owner says – Superior Telegram

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SUPERIOR — Privately funding the cost of remodeling Superior’s first Carnegie Library has proven to be the biggest challenge for the long-vacant building at 1204 Hammond Ave.

The Library Superior LLC, a company formed by Osterlund Architects LLC of Raleigh, North Carolina, planned to turn the former library into a coworking center and business incubator with a creative space and cafe.

However, after being unable to find a major financial partner, the bank supposed to finance the project was unwilling to proceed with the loan, said Andy Osterlund, owner of the companies.

The City of Superior applied for a $3 million neighborhood improvement grant from the Wisconsin Department of Administration on behalf of the company.

“In March we found out that we hadn’t gotten the grant,” Osterlund said. “We started hearing that there were funds available that could be directed to the roof repair project. However, the city approached us to purchase the property instead.

The city council considered a purchase agreement to buy the library for an agreed price of $175,000 at its meeting on Tuesday, June 7, but postponed action on the agreement to gather additional information on the cost of preservation of the building.

The preservation of the building inaugurated in 1902 is a priority of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

The Carnegie Library on Hammond Avenue is the first of 63 libraries built in Wisconsin with funding from industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Superior also has the distinction of having the last Carnegie Library built in Wisconsin, which today serves as a private residence.

“So all the options are back on the table,” Osterlund said. “We approached the city for a public-private partnership that would allow the city to partner on the development instead of buying it, and we also approached a broker to list the property for sale,” Osterlund said.

The board is due to discuss the Carnegie Library again when it meets at 6:30 p.m. on June 21 in Room 201 of the Government Center.

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