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Court Square Library to Shutter Doors Next Month

Court Square Library (Photo: Friends of Court Square Library)

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.”

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LIC pet owner

So in the quest to keep out Amazon, in addition to the thousands of high paying jobs, increased opportunity for Queens students, improved infrastructure, and more public schools….we also lose a library. Well done!


I’ve used this little library a few times and would like to see it in another location that’s bigger. It is convenient to the 7 train (I got off the train one day when I realized I didn’t have anything for my long commute to Sunset Park, Bklyn.)


always cool to chase out business.
Better to have a South Bronx ambiance and keep rents down.


At first I couldn’t fathom how a Queens Public Library can be forced out of existence, then I saw lease negotiations failed, and then I was like oh yeah.. Corporate Greed wins again.


If you mean negotiation being Queens Library asking for free space and only considering free space, then, yay, I guess it’s corporate greed and not bureaucratic incompetence.


Do you pay to take books out of the library? Didn’t think so, so providing a community resource for free is not bureaucratic afterall, is it?


Corporations and city agencies can both be held to high standards around their decision making. Queens Library did a bad job keeping a library in Court Square. Corporate greed had nothing to do with it.

stan chaz

Why would 5 Pointz even consider hosting a new public library after the terrible way it has been treated – with very expensive fines slapped on the owners for their removal of graffiti on the original buildings on that site, graffiti that was ridiculously labeled by the courts as sacrosanct art.
All the graffiti “artists” that painted over NYC subways cars in prior decades (only to have their work removed by the City) should likewise sue for monetary damages & compensation.


Where does it say they’ll be moving to 5 Pointz? That owner whitewashed his building to stop the land marking process. No way he would be generous enough to allow a library in his development.

“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.”


It is. Surprised there hasn’t been a bigger fight to try and keep it. This is why the developers always win in Court Square. The actual residents don’t put up enough of a fuss. Do they not care? Where is everyone?


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