April 30, 2019 By Christian Murray
The Queens Public Library has secured a 6-month extension to its lease at the Citigroup Building that will see the Court Square Library branch remain in place until March 31, 2020.
The library’s lease, as first reported by the LIC Post, was scheduled to end Aug. 31, and residents were worried that a significant neighborhood resource would soon close.
The library has occupied a 3,200 square foot ground floor space at One Court Square since 1989 and has been paying an annual rent of $1 per year since the 50-story building opened. The library has been subleasing the space from Citigroup.
Citigroup’s lease is about to expire but the banking giant has worked out a deal that will keep the library there until March.
Savanna, which bought the building in 2014, is looking to find a tenant that will pay market rate that the owner recently said is in the $55 to $65 per square foot range. Andrew Kurd, the managing partner of Savanna, said earlier this month that the company was in discussions with the library but did not elaborate.
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who is the head of the Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries, welcomed the news of the extension.
“This is a short term victory and it’s important,” Van Bramer said. “It gives the library more time to secure a permanent home.”
Van Bramer said the library has not given up on its current location and is urging Savanna to continue to offer the library the same $1 deal going forward.
“Savanna is a wealthy corporation,” Van Bramer said. “To kick out a public library is a disgrace. They are not going to go bankrupt by providing this public service. “
Van Bramer is holding a rally outside the One Court Square library on Wednesday at 11 a.m. The rally had been scheduled prior to news of the extension.
Van Bramer said he is just as determined to hold the rally despite the announcement.
“We are looking for a long term solution,” he said. “This news just gives us a bit of time.”
State Sen. Mike Gianaris also said the extension will give officials more time to find a new home. “I’m glad our voices were heard,” he said. “The Court Square Library plays a critical role for a growing neighborhood and I will do everything I can to ensure its continuing presence in our community.”
Savanna could not be reached for comment.
the nyc public library is an important asset to the area. the city also has money and maybe the nyc public library can pay half or 1/4 the market rate. and perhaps savanna accountants can consider the balance as a tax write off. savanna is in a precarious position of possibly having a half empty building. the loan for the building is coming due very soon. citibank is moving out. half the building has recently been rented to an insurance company. refinancing a half empty building is tough. amazon was to lease the entire building, but that fell apart. local politicians saw cranes in the area unaware that the development in area is for building high rent and million dollar apartments not commercial space where jobs would be created. the occupants of these buildings will be taking mass transit… further congesting the transit system. when buildings are built 1 by 1 by different developers no concessions have to be made for the effect on transit system or the effect on the community.
Politicians, please stop counting the money they think is in anothers pocket and come up with solutions to the given issues.
Small win. I hope the corporation will come around and not let greed win out. We’ve been living in the area for 6 years and now are expecting our second child. Our first has gone since he was 6 month. It makes me so disgusted to see all of the development without a shred of family programming in mind. Families pay the rent here just like the single folks… This little library is a staple in the community. Seeing it be forced from its home its just gross.
JVB asking Savanna for anything was a much easier lift before he blew up their deal for a new tenant who was going to lease most of the building.
I used to work in that building.
This is very powerful. Thank you for being brave and sharing.
I didn’t use to work there