WNYC has a story on the battle too... I don't recall seeing this fact anywhere else:
Cooper Union doesn't actually own the building that holds the store, but leases it from a company called Casabella Holdings, and sublets it to St Mark's. Some of the people signing the petition have accused Cooper Union of being greedy and trying to force St. Marks out of the area.
But Cooper Union is hardly your typical college. It's one of the few in the country that offers all its students full scholarships, each valued at $38,500 a year. The income it generates from its real estate holdings, according to [spokesperson Jolene] Travis, makes up 55 percent of the college's revenue.
Also in the piece!
One real estate analyst, David Nouhian of the Metropolitan Property Group, argues that the most sensible solution would be for St. Mark's to move to a cheaper location, perhaps mid-block.
"That landlord could get a lot more than $20,000 a month in today's market," Nouhian said.
Find the whole report here.