Mission Hills Historic Library – What’s Happening

| January 6, 2024 | 0 Comments

Late this past December, I noticed lights on inside the Mission Hills Historic Library building and saw a blueprint on a desk when I peered into the window.  

According to my notes, the project is now two months late in being remodeled for use as a bookstore.  I originally contacted Logan Braydis, community representative for Councilman Steve Whitburn’s office. Here are my questions and answers he originally offered back on Wednesday, December 6. 

Q.  There are concerns about the neighboring property owner who has the pink building. More damage has occurred at the library building.  Can you request fencing around the library property so that it no longer is damaged and is secure from vandals and any homeless camps? 

A. Unfortunately, fencing around the property was deemed unfeasible due to concerns about obstructing the public Right of Way on the sidewalk.

Q. In your email dated November 9, 2023, you referred to the needs of the property (interior and exterior), the timeline, the budget and the lease. We need you to expand on some of these points, including, why has nothing happened to date at the site? The renovation was scheduled to start in November 2023 (it is now December 2023)?

A. Unfortunately, a setback occurred when a drunk driver damaged the library’s brick siding, necessitating a delay in development to ensure the property’s structural integrity. This caused a slight postponement from the originally planned November start, but construction inside the building is set to commence this month, with an anticipated completion timeline by Summer 2024. The City is working to source the specialty bricks needed to repair the outside.

Q. What are the real short term and long-term plans for the library?  It is somewhat vague, based on the email you provided. There is speculation that as you previously stated (not in your email), that it may be the site of a permanent supportive housing facility.  Is that still under consideration? 

A. Our goal is to activate this space with a library shop temporarily to address these immediate worries over the vacant building. I want to clarify that permanent supportive housing is not currently under consideration, although all future options for the site are being considered.  

Q.  We want to emphasize the importance of transparency on this property because of the interest of local businesses and residents of Mission Hills and surrounding communities.  We would like to know who we should contact at the Library Department who will be in charge of the transition to a Library shop and bookstore.  That way you won’t have to take time from your busy schedule to update us on its progress.

A. weblibrary@sandiego.gov or call us at 619-236-5800. I will also keep you updated whenever I hear new information and provide updates at Uptown Planners

Q. What did transpire with the childcare facility person (Anna DiMartini) who was very interested in leasing the facility for her current business?  You didn’t offer what was discussed.

A. I spoke with Anna DiMartini regarding the childcare facility over the phone primarily to gain insight into her vision for the property. I let her know that I had heard from other constituents that this would serve the community well as a childcare facility but had also heard from other community members who proposed alternatives. I also let her know that any lease or sale of the property would need to go through the RFP process making it accessible to everyone to have the opportunity.

Q. What is the purpose of the bookstore (and shop) and how and why was this deemed a priority?

A. Community members have expressed concerns about homeless individuals on the property, the overall deterioration of the building, and the negative impact this may have on the surrounding area. Our goal is to activate this space temporarily to address these immediate worries over the vacant building as previously stated.

Q. What is the long-term lease (timeline) of the bookstore (and shop)? 

A. This is a short-term solution and all options are on the table long term as previously stated.

On Thursday, December 28 I again emailed Logan Braydis to learn of its progress and apparent delay.  Following is his reaction.

“I am not sure why you assume a two-month delay, as the interior work was set to start this month. The lights being on and the blueprint hints that the project is most likely already be underway as planned. Regardless, I will reach out to request an update on the remodel and will keep you posted with whatever response I receive.”

The exterior of the Mission Hills Historic Library building has been damaged and tagged with graffiti.

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