Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library to lease space

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (Photo: Flickr/rockcreek)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Experts in architecture and development say Washington's main public library could share space with a tenant to fund major renovations needed to keep the building operational.

The panel led by the Urban Land Institute says the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library could lease about 200,000 square feet to a school, museum or nonprofit group. That could generate millions annually for renovations.

The 40-year-old historic landmark building was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Its poor condition includes problems with the ventilation system, asbestos and outdated elevators. Renovations could cost $250 million.

The Washington Post reports the panel also found the city could sell the property for as much as $70 million and move the library. Chief librarian Ginnie Cooper says staying at the downtown location is preferred.