Thursday, September 15, 2011

[Updated] Report: St. Mark's Bookshop and Cooper Union to meet again next week

As you know, the owners of St. Mark's Bookshop were to meet yesterday with Theresa C. Westcott, Cooper Union's Vice President of Finance, Adminstration, and Treasury, to negotiate a rent reduction. According to NY1, Westcott will present the issue to Cooper Union's president and trustees. The two sides plan to meet again next week, NY1 reported. "[W]e're optimistic that we can work things out," co-owner Bob Contant said.



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.


Marty Wombacher said...

Glad to hear that things sound optimistic. Maybe this will have a happy ending after all.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but I bet they own the land that building sits on.
That is the case with the Chrysler building. They don't own the building just the land it sits upon. This would lead me to think they have an influential voice in what transpires.

Anonymous said...

The ownership of that property is pretty complex. Cooper Union owns cellar, airspace, certain columns and walls and parts of the first and second floor.
The rest of the building is owned by 29-3rd Ave. Corp.

Tom said...

Grieve - I don't accept the purported fact that "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." I don't see anything in the NYC "ACRIS" digital land records that supports this. [People can search themselves -- the property is Tax Block 464, Lot 6.] In any event, true or not, it's at best, irrelevant and, at worst, deliberate misinformation put out by someone to deflect criticism of Cooper Union. Bottom line: Cooper Union built that building using NYS Dormitory Authority bonds (i.e., your and my tax dollars), is the landlord of St. Mark's Bookshop, and has absolute and total control over the bookshop's lease and rent.

Jeez Cooper Union, do the right thing and throw the people a bone. I actually think it should reduce the monthly rent by at least $10,000.

Jeremiah Moss said...

hear, hear Tom!

Crazy Eddie said...

This whole thing is starting to look like a scene from the great 1967 film “Point Blank” whereby St. Mark’s is the Walker character played by Lee Marvin and Cooper Union is the mysterious “organization”.

glamma said...

cooper union are the biggest a-holes in the planet if they shut down this bookstore. it would be extremely unneccessary, i bet you they have more money than god and NO budget issues whatsoever, especially none that would be in any way affected by the measy little rent decrease these guys are asking for (that would result in enormous benefit to the community). these guys are supposed to be EDUCATORS, and they are trying to choke a BOOKSTORE for pocketchange, for godssake! some very greedy people there who are happy to destroy the east village for cold hard cash should really be put to shame by every magazine, newspaper and blog in this town.

Anonymous said...

Yeah!!! (What Glamma said). As some as I get some of my slow-paying clients to actually fork over some cash, I am joyfully going to buy more books, though my rent is also overdue. : (
I, like the rest of you, love SMBs. Somehow losing this store would mean terrible things for me personally as I love the fact that they sell independently published books and the best remainders in town. Take that, Strand!!!

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

Message to Glamma: Thanks for picking up my 100 Whores at St Marks Bookshop, that's really something, much appreciated ;)

Anonymous said...

They already are a-holes who have destroyed the neighborhood. This is the cherry on top. Even if this does get saved and I hope that it will, it doesn't excuse the fact that they have been key players in the demise of the EV. They and the Cooper Square redevelopment have destroyed Astor Place, Cooper Square, The Bowery and beyond forever.

Anonymous said... the poster above- get real.."they destroyed the neighborhood"? Cooper Union was here long before any of us...since 1859...It must have been you who ruined the neighborhood...

Anonymous said...

Casabella is Kaminstein's Hardware, which was what was there before the dorms, so some part of this story may hold up.

blue glass said...

cooper union of 1800's not the same institution it is today.
created as a free school for nyc residents. did not need to provide housing. did not have "for profit" entity.
they built engineering school building on tax free city-owned land.
now will tear it down and create awful disarchitecture for commercial purposes.
own land under bowery bar and astor place chase building.
renovated house for their president on stuyvesnt street.
they learned well from nyu that property not education is the name of the game.

great community effort (the people, not the elected officials) saved met supermarket from nyu.
will take at least similar effort to save bookstore.

Anonymous said...

don't forget Border Books filed for bankruptcy this year, and all their remaining stores nationwide will close by the end of september. the last NYC store closed September 14, 2011.

Anonymous said...

@anon 7:48 PM:

CU has been here a long time; therefore....... what?
What was your point?
Your comment is so stupid, I can't believe I've responded.

Anonymous said...

Appearances to the contrary, WNYC is pretty much in the bag to their wealthy sponsors and are not necessarily to be trusted to present stories fairly.

Was not always this way, but is part of NPR's downward spiral after George Bush Jr. purged the Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB) of community-minded people and replaced them with shady characters and corporate shills.