Peter Batten of the Spectrum Group has unveiled an option for the relocation of Falls Church’s Mary Riley Styles Public Library to a new two-story, 24,000 square-foot building in its proposed 4.3-acre Mason Row development at the intersection of West Broad and North West Street. The plan was presented to a special meeting at City Hall Friday afternoon.
Batten told the News-Press that he was approached by a member of the Falls Church City Council concerning an exploration of the option about four months ago while the City’s Library Board was wrestling with options for renovating and expanding the library at its current location and was running up against severe space and cost limitations.
“A library would be a very beneficial use in a project like Mason Row,” Batten said. “It would increase the visibility and profile of the library while providing it with a comparably affordable new space with plenty of parking.”
An advantage would also be the ability of library users to eat and shop on the same trip, something which is a toxic option for library users at its current location, given the eagerness of a towing company to remove vehicles from the adjacent Broaddale Shopping Center the minute a patron steps off that property to include a trip to the library. Lighting and proximity of other businesses would also make a new library at Mason Row safer than a location on a dark side street.
Batten said the building Spectrum has proposed would have 15,000 square feet on the first floor and 9,000 on the second. The City, under the current conceptual plan, would buy the building and move all or part of the library there. The proposal is expected to be included in the next Mason Row hearing before a City Council work session next week.