A Fort Worth City Council vote on Tuesday will decide if the downtown library will reopen in a much smaller location. 

The city plans to lease 8,746 square feet on the main floor and in the basement of 100 Main St. from Pescador Partners LTD. The building is across from the Tarrant County Courthouse. 

The 10-year lease will cost the city an average $214,823.20 annually and $2.14 million total. The city is required to provide security guard services and plans to invest $130,000 for improvements to the space.

The library permanently closed its downtown branch in June. The city will use proceeds from the sale of its previous location to finance the renovations. The building was sold to Dart Interests LLC for $18 million in December, 2022. The Dallas-based firm specializing in real estate investment and development, expects to build a multi-story, mixed-use development on the site with residential, retail and office space, according to previous reporting.

Preliminary rendering of mixed-use development at former Central Library site. (Rendering courtesy|JLL)

Despite downsizing by more than 225,000 square feet, the library will maintain a similar level of services as the former central library “with caveats,” Theresa Davis, communications manager with Fort Worth Public Library, said in a statement. 

The new branch will have printing, 3D printers, public computers and book collections for adults, teens and kids. There will be space for programming, but no large auditorium, Davis said. In the near future, the city intends to offer passport services at the new location. 

The city is exploring adding a drive-through window to the downtown branch, contingent on the final lease agreement and permitting. 

“We think it would be a great additional resource for the neighborhood,” Davis said. 

If approved, the lease will begin Oct. 1, 2023, and end Dec. 31, 2033. The city does not have a final timeline to start moving into the new location. If the council approves the lease agreement Tuesday, the library department will execute the signed lease agreement and begin producing renovation cost estimates and requesting permits, Davis said. 

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at rachel.behrndt@fortworthreport.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report in collaboration with KERA. She is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri where she majored in Journalism and Political...