Long Island City library may be evicted from Queens tower after Amazon debacle

Posted On Thu, April 25, 2019 By

Posted On Thu, April 25, 2019 By In City Living, Long Island City

image via Google Earth

Two months after mega-retailer Amazon announced it was walking away from a lease at One Court Square, a Long Island City library branch that occupies space on the ground floor of the 53-story Citigroup building is facing the possibility of eviction according to non-profit publication The City. The lease on the 3,200-square-foot One Court Square branch of the Queens Public Library expires on August 31. The library has paid an annual rent of $1 since the building opened in 1989 as part of a deal with Citigroup, whose lease on the space ends in May of 2020, but a spokesperson for the library has said that the building’s owner has “indicated it is seeking market rent for the library space.” Last year, building owner Savanna was reportedly seeking $55 to $65 per square foot for space in the building.

Court Square Library, Queens Public Library, Long Island City
image via Google Earth

Library officials are trying to figure out what they’ll do if the rent hit happens, with the near-term goal of extending the dollar lease for another year, until Citigroup lets go of its million-square-foot space–originally meant for Amazon–in what is currently the tallest skyscraper in Queens. Other longtime small business tenants in the building are also worried about what will happen when their leases expire.

Patrons say that if the library branch were to close it would be a huge loss for Long Island City. The branch is one of only two library locations in the neighborhood, with popular programming that ranges from children’s programs to a weekly knitting circle. The number of library visitors has been on the rise in the last three years according to library officials, with over 98,000 patrons last year alone.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott said in a joint statement, “Together we are actively engaged at all levels to protect this invaluable public library from closing and will stand with the community as it fights to stop it from closing.”

[Via The City]

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Neighborhoods : Long Island City

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