After more than three years on ice, plans to remake the Southdale Library are coming back to life.

Hennepin County is looking to demolish and rebuild its Southdale location in Edina , the library system's fourth-busiest branch. The library had been slated to move into the nearby Southdale Center mall, but the pandemic hit and plans changed. Now, the plan is for a building with more green space that can serve as a better community hub on the current site.

"How can this property be re-envisioned to be more than just a library?" asked Hennepin County Administrator David Hough.

The existing, spaceship-like structure stilted over a parking lot is doomed, largely because it's hard to navigate — especially for anyone who can't use stairs. The county has been looking to redo the library for 14 years, Hough said, but there were always other priorities.

In 2019, Hennepin County moved its service center into the mall and shunted county court functions to other cities. The initial plan to move the library there, too, would have cost about $45 million, retrofitting the former Herberger's space to hold books and computers; the county would have paid more than $500,000 for a five-year lease from the mall.

Library plans were on hold during the pandemic, but Southdale moved ahead with another plan, tearing up the Herberger's to build a grocery store and restaurants. So the new library will stay on its current site.

Earlier plans to rebuild the library on York Avenue estimated the new building could cost $50 million. It is not yet clear how much a new library will cost now, Hough said, but it would likely be much more.

He said architects are still working on cost estimates, which will change after hearing from the public about what they want to see in a new library, but he said there will be a "placeholder" figure in the 2024 Hennepin County budget.

"This is an opportunity to create a welcoming space," interim Hennepin County Library Director Dan Rogan said, with more windows and fewer dark crannies. He also hopes to see more meeting rooms, rooms where people can make video calls, and outdoor library spaces.

The library may also provide space for the Edina Art Center, which has been looking to expand.

"We are really building this to last quite a long time and to be respectful of the environment," said Margo Geffen, county facilities director. The library could have a green roof, solar panels and geothermal heat.

Hough said he does not anticipate county services being reintegrated into the library — the mall service center works well, though the lease is up in 2026 — and said county courts won't be back either.

Hennepin County and Edina will hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Southdale Library, 7001 York Ave., to present the updated plans and hear more about what library users want to see.

After so many years of waiting, forward movement on the library is exciting, Rogan said, because it serves so many people across several suburban cities.

"We know this is a real linchpin for our entire system," he said.

Correction: Previous versions of this story misstated redevelopment plans for the former Herberger's store location at Southdale Center. A photo caption misstated the date of demolition for the current building. Demolition is not scheduled until 2025.