Lake/Flato will design new Central Library in Downtown Austin

Site of Downtown Austins new Central Libary

Site of Downtown Austin's new Central Libary

Lake Flato has been awarded the design contract for Downtown Austin’s new Central Library.  They’ve got $90MM to work with to build 250,000 square feet by 2013.

Below is an estimated timeline for the new Central Library project:

  • May 2009 ~ Citizen/Stakeholder input meetings –Co-sponsored by Library Commission and Library Foundation June 2009 ~ Design phase begins
  • Spring 2011 ~ Design development completed
  • Winter 2011 ~ Construction begins
  • Fall 2013 ~ Construction complete
  • Spring/Summer 2014-Grand Opening

The site sits partially within a capitol view corridor, so the future building can only be mid-rise and will likely only by three stories.  In that regard I like this choice of location.  Still, I think this is a poor choice of location in terms of accessibility.  I’ve seen plenty of proposed transit maps for ‘future’ Austin, and not a single one shows rail stopping near the library.  The people that would benefit the most from this new Central Library are, in my opinion, going to benefit the most from mass transit that can get them to the library!   It was an easy choice for the City because they own the land; however, the city could have used condemnation to select a better site that would be more accessible.  I expect the building will be beautiful.  I just hope it gets used.

Jude Galligan

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. I’ve brought it up with city council and been roundly ignored. The library backers don’t really care about the current users of the library, who are disproportionately (compared to city average) transit-dependent. They want a trophy library that suburbanites will be able to drive to and park at more conveniently than the current site, and they’re getting one.

  2. avatar amber gugino says:

    How are people supposed to get to it? Has this point been brought up in any of the meetings discussing the project?

  3. It’s not just the rail – most bus routes won’t go anywhere near it either:

  4. I don’t live in Austin now, so I don’t keep up with things very well. Is there even a need for a new library? What is wrong with the one that is downtown now ?

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