City Manager Alex D. McIntyre has been notified that local philanthropist John Arrillaga is withdrawing his offer to fund and build a new main library contingent upon the City contributing the first $20 million of construction costs. Staff estimates that a new main library at Burgess Park would cost up to $60 million.
Mr. Arrillaga’s original offer was made to the City when he learned of the need for a new main library after a needs assessment was heard by the City Council in April 2017; the City Council tentatively accepted his offer four months later.
Mr. Arrillaga’s initial commitment anticipated construction of the new main library beginning in 2020. However, efforts to build consensus in project scope and site have delayed that timeline. With Mr. Arrillaga’s announcement, the City Council will likely determine the fate of the new main library project when it meets in January 2019 to establish its annual work plan.
“The loss of Mr. Arrillaga’s generous contribution to the new main library project delays this project until a new funding source can be identified,” McIntyre said.
Despite this setback, the main library project is not the only library system improvement underway. As part of the City Council’s 2018-19 work plan, the City is moving forward with a plan to replace the Belle Haven branch library. The City Council is scheduled to take action on the Belle Haven Neighborhood Library Needs Assessment at its meeting on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.
Please direct all questions to Nick Pegueros, Assistant City Manager, at (650) 330-6619.