DC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial library is getting a major makeover

The modernized design for the Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library. (Courtesy Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library)
The new cafe in the Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library. (Courtesy Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library)
The monumental stairs in the redesigned Martin Luther King Jr. Library. (Courtesy Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library)
The new cafe in the Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library. (Courtesy Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library)
The library will also have a fifth floor rooftop terrace.
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The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in the Penn Quarter area of D.C. is undergoing a major revitalization effort, aimed at offering on-the-job training in the hospitality industry while honoring the legacy of Dr. King.

The library will be spending around $221 million for renovations that will add a 4,300 sq ft. cafe and outdoor garden space, and a 14,900 sq ft. rooftop event space and catering kitchen.

See a slideshow of the final designs.

With more space to accommodate visitors, the library expects to see around 1 million people come through its doors in its first year alone.

Pivotal to the redesign is an effort to place Dr. King’s legacy and passion for economic self-determination as a dominant presence within the modernized library. Public artwork depicting important moments in Dr. King’s life will be displayed prominently throughout the building.

Along with the redesign, the library is looking to find a partner for the new cafe and rooftop catering service that will help them realize their goal of providing training in the hospitality industry for underserved members of the D.C. community, including immigrants, veterans, people of color and returning citizens.

Those who wish to partner with the library have until Sept. 6 to submit a proposal. The library will be holding a pre-bid conference and site visit on Aug. 16.

The library is expected to be open in fall of 2020.

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