The nearly historic former Logan Heights Library building, a Spanish stucco charmer on 28th Street, nearly went up for sale last week but was pulled from the list of surplus land the city's selling.
567 South 28th Street, San Diego
"It's a great building," said Mark Steele, chair of the neighboring Barrio Logan Planning Group. "I've been in it many times — there's lots of interesting nooks and crannies and a basement, rare in San Diego."
The building is on 28th Street, just north of Logan Avenue. The 4000-square-foot branch library was built in 1927 to replace a smaller space that had become too crowded. In December 2009, the current, 25,000-square-foot library on the same block opened.
City councilman David Alvarez — with committee permission — pulled the building off the list of properties the city is about to hand over to commercial realtor CBRE to sell, his policy manager Kevin Smith confirmed.
"There is a feeling in the Logan Heights community that the building represents something historic and important to the community," Smith said. Both the old and new libraries are on the same supersized block with Logan Heights Elementary School and Child Development Center, Memorial Park, and pool, the charter school, and a skate park.
"That whole block is public land, a community center," Smith said. "It would be strange to sell one part and see it used for something that wasn't for the community."
Alvarez has started soliciting ideas for how to use the center — or the land beneath it. The building does not have historic designation and is in poor condition, according to city reports.
"David wants to engage with the community to see what people want to do with it," Smith said. "Once we have the community's input, we'll start looking for funding." He mentioned ideas of a community center, a teen center, or a neighborhood museum. Steele also suggested that it could be the future location of a high-technology incubator that the mayor's office has been talking about. A lot of work stands between that idea and getting into the building, however. According to city documents, the building was suggested for sale at $270,000, and the Department of Public Works said it needs about $760,000 in improvements before it is safe and habitable.
"It needs a roof, ADA improvements, there's water damage, and more," Smith said. "But it is very clear after talking to our constituents that it should stay in the community."