Jan. 2, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The Court Square library will lend out its final books next month, as Queens Public Library is forced to vacate the One Court Square location at the expiration of its lease.
The branch will close to the public sometime in February, with an exact closure date to be announced by the end of next week, a Queens Public Library spokesperson said.
The library has occupied a 3,200-square-foot ground floor space at the Citigroup Building, also known as One Court Square, since 1989. It will vacate the building before the lease termination date on March 31 so that library employees can pack and restore the space as needed.
“We need sufficient time to pack and move our materials, equipment, shelving, and furniture out of the building, and restore the space as necessary to comply with the terms and conditions of the lease,” Queens Public Library spokesperson Elizabeth de Bourbon said.
Queens Public Library paid an annual rent of $1 per year since the 50-story building opened and had been subleasing the space from Citigroup, which is moving out of the building as well.
The current landlord of One Court Square, Savanna, was expecting to rent about one million square feet of the 1.4 million-square-foot building to Amazon, but was dealt a blow when the e-commerce giant pulled out in February last year.
Despite Amazon’s change in plans, Citigroup is moving ahead with its plan to relocate its staff when its lease is up this year — which left the fate of its subleaser, the Court Square Library, up in the air.
However, Citigroup was able to negotiate a six-month extension for the library’s lease which originally was scheduled to end on Aug. 31, 2019.
Savanna, which bought the building in 2014, is looking to find a tenant that will pay market rate that the owner had previously said is in the $55 to $65 per square foot range.
Queens Public Library is currently looking for a new home for the Court Square branch, as it prepares to move out of 25-01 Jackson Ave.
“We are committed to having a presence in a neighborhood we have served for 30 years, and continue to look for new space there,” de Bourbon said.
While Community Board 2 called for the upcoming 5Pointz development project to include a 5,000-square-foot library in October, the project developer said his building was not a possibility for a new branch location, the spokesperson said.
“We are actively looking for new space in the neighborhood, and have had conversations about next steps with the Mayor’s Office, Council Member Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Nolan, Senator Gianaris, Congresswoman Maloney and the community,” de Bourbon said.
“Our staff, including our president and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, have been canvassing the area on foot for affordable alternatives, and we have been in contact with Long Island City business leaders to see what is possible, both long term and short term.”