The Real Deal New York

City could seize Brooklyn library to save on rent

Arizona bank charges NYC $250,000 annually to lease the building
March 10, 2014 04:45PM

The city could soon seize a privately-owned Brooklyn library via eminent domain.

The McKinley Park branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at 6802 Fort Hamilton Parkway on the corner of 68th Street leases the space from a BMO Harris Bank branch in Arizona, and pays $20,000 per month in rent — a rate the library’s executive president says it cannot afford.

Library officials told the Brooklyn Paper that they have skipped more than $5 million in needed repairs to the building in order to pay rent, the Brooklyn Paper reported. The bank recently turned down the library’s offer to buy the building for $2.4 million, prompting the library’s lobbying for the city to kickstart the eminent domain process.

Should the city seize the property, the library would stay on as a rent-free tenant, enabling it to complete for all maintenance repairs, including window replacement and plumbing and roof work. The city will conduct hearings on the matter next month.

The library leases six other branches and is planning to acquire all of them, the library’s vice president David Woloch told the Brooklyn Paper. [BrooklynPaper] Angela Hunt