Brighton-based educational nonprofit WGBH is opening an 800-square-foot satellite news bureau and studio in the Boston Public Library's Johnson Building, after a vote in favor of its proposal by the library's board of trustees.
The studio will include an anchor desk to be used by WGBH News for TV and radio broadcasts, though it will be used primarily for radio.
For the project, part of ongoing renovations to the Library, WGBH partnered with catering company The Catered Affair, which will operate a coffee shop called The Newsfeed Café in the space.
While a trustee's subcommittee voted last week in favor of the project, the trustees officially finalized the plan Tuesday. The Library said no contract has been signed, and negotiations among three parties will continue.
The 4,500-square-foot space is expected to open in the summer of 2016.
“The renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square is setting the tone for other urban libraries across the country, and this partnership is a top notch selection,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement. “I applaud the work of the Retail Tenant Advisory Committee for their diligence in selecting a partnership that will serve library patrons from Boston, and across the Commonwealth.”
WGBH's proposal won out over two others. Kendall Square's Café ArtScience proposed opening a restaurant/event space at the library, and would have served coffee, tea and light food while conducting free public seminars. The other, proposed by the owners of the Curious George Store in Harvard Square, would also have featured a café, paired with book, toy, and gift sales, and events with authors.
“We are honored to have this opportunity to extend our educational efforts into the heart of the city through the Boston Public Library,” said WGBH COO Ben Godley in a statement. “We share a mission of public service, and we look forward to providing greater access to our quality programming, a direct connection with our trusted news reporting, and deeper audience engagement through this partnership.”
After releasing a request for retail proposals in March, the library says it contacted 100 businesses and nonprofits before receiving the three proposals. The library formed a "Retail Tenant Advisory Committee," which had three meetings to review the proposals, which recommended the WGBH proposal to the BPL board of trustees.