Rental space at new library may sell out

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Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 6.59.36 PMSAN DIEGO — Interest is strong in renting special event rooms at the future Central Library in downtown San Diego, enough so that space could sell out through next year, city library Director Deborah Barrow said Wednesday.

“We have many people calling, wanting to rent the space,” Barrow told members of the City Council’s Budget Committee. “We’re tentatively booked through 2014.”

Barrow made her comments while presenting a proposed fee schedule for renting out several areas of the library building to companies, nonprofits and individuals.

The fees were tentatively approved by the committee. Final passage will have to come from the full City Council at a later date.

Barrow said the bookings haven’t been finalized, so people interesting in renting space should call the library.

The new facility, set to open in two months in the East Village near Petco Park, will have a 352-seat auditorium, a conference center with a capacity of 46 people, an art gallery, a special events room overlooking downtown and an outdoor area that will include a sculpture garden.

The lobby will also be available for rental, after regular operating hours.

Fees range from $4,400 for commercial enterprises to use the special events room for a full day to $16 for nonprofits to use a small section of the conference center for one hour.

The fee schedule was determined after comparisons were made with similar libraries in other cities, and rental costs of cultural facilities around San Diego County, Barrow said.

“I think you will have very strong demand, as we’ve seen in other cities that have beautiful libraries,” Councilman Kevin Faulconer said. “I think the public is going to clamor for this space.”

Barrow said the library expects to earn $150,000 in rental fees in the current fiscal year.

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