Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Fiore Companies Executive Vice President Bill Kunkler brought negotiations between the two parties concerning renovations to the Central Library to a close Thursday after an agreement on project costs failed to be reached.
After local media coverage earlier this week hinted negotiations had come to a standstill over the costs of the proposed library renovations, Cieslewicz and Kunkler met with representatives of the Library Board Thursday afternoon and determined a compromise between the developer and city agencies would not be feasible.
“In the end, we agreed that we could not come to terms on the costs of the project,” Cieslewicz said in an e-mail to City Council. “We want to thank Bill and his team for negotiating in good faith and working hard to make this project work.”
Initial plans for the site stipulated construction of the library at the corner of West Washington Avenue and Henry Street at a cost of no more than $37 million. Fiore would build the shell of the building with the interior being taken over by the city as a public works project.
The project to renovate the current library on West Mifflin Street will continue, Cieslewicz said in a blog post Thursday. Both Cieslewicz and Library Board President Tripp Widder will introduce the proposal to City Council in coming weeks.
“We believe we can do it at a lower cost and roughly on the same timeline,” Cieslewicz said in his blog. “We will need to count on less private fundraising in a tight environment for philanthropy.”
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said in his interactions with Cieslewicz, there appeared to be no bad blood between the city and Fiore.
The Central Library resides in Verveer’s district and though he said he was glad to hear the project would continue, albeit in a different form, he was not as enthusiastic as Cieslewicz at this juncture.
“Things don’t always work out as planned, but if we stay flexible and look for the openings, we usually can find a solution,” Cieslewicz said in his blog. “That’s the way to look at this situation.”
Kunkler and representatives from Fiore were unavailable for comment as of press time.