The Real Deal New York

Petition asks Cooper Union to lower rent of St. Mark’s Bookshop

September 09, 2011 04:34PM

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St. Mark’s Bookshop, an alternative bookstore in the East Village, is struggling to pay its rent to the Cooper Union for the Advancement
of Science and Arts, and the Cooper Square Committee is seeking at least 4,000
signatures on a petition to get Cooper Union to lower the rent,
Galleycat reported. St Mark’s was founded on the Lower East Side in 1977. The bookstore pays $20,000 a
month for the space in the base of a dormitory building, the Local
East Village reported. Bob Zuckerman, a member of Community Board 3,
said that was market rate. Still, the board’s Economic Development
Committee voted unanimously 9-0 to endorse the owners’ efforts to have
the rent reduced, saying the 33-year-old shop constituted a “special case”
because of its value to the neighborhood.

“The economy crashed, business declined more and more, and the rent
has become very burdensome,” Terence McCoy, 67, one of the owners of
the shop that is in the third year of a 10-year lease, told the Local.
City Council member Rosie Mendez also wrote a letter to Cooper Union,
stating that “given the breadth of Cooper Union’s real estate
investments, including the soon-to-be redeveloped 51 Astor Place as a fully commercial building, I believe that a rent concession to
St. Mark’s Bookshop would not constitute a large burden.”

A spokesperson for Mendez said she had met with Cooper Union officials
about the bookstore, and that a meeting between the store owners and
Cooper Union is planned for next week. St Mark’s is facing the same struggles as larger bookstore chains such as Borders with a bad economy and the rise of e-books in the publishing industry. [Galleycat] and [The Local] 

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