Cooper Union and St. Mark’s Bookshop reach rent agreement

After a long battle, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer brokered a deal between the St. Mark’s Bookshop and Cooper Union over rent reductions to keep the store in operation, the New York Times reported.

For months the bookstore has asked that its $20,000 monthly rent be reduced to $15,000 so that it could afford to stay open. However, citing financial difficulties of its own — including a proposal to charge tuition for the first time in its 152-year history — landlord Cooper Union said it couldn’t afford to oblige.

The owners of the bookstore, at 31 Third Avenue, had all but given up on ever reaching an agreement.

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Tuesday the two sides met at Scott Stringer’s office and the school agreed to forgive the bookstore’s $7,000 debt, and the two sides agreed to a $17,500 monthly rent for the next year.

“I tried to split the difference,” Stringer said. “When an independent bookstore goes out of business, a part of us goes with it.”

According to Cooper Union president Jamshed Bharucha a key part of the agreement was that the bookstore would use the next year of reduced rent to come up with a plan that would sustain its business without continued subsidies. [NYT]