NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The final chapter has yet to be written about St. Mark’s Bookshop — a fixture in the East Village for over three decades.
The independent bookstore had planned to close its doors due to a rent hike by landlord, Cooper Union, but it received a reprieve after Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer intervened.
“We were really not resolving our differences,” store co-owner Bob Contant told 1010 WINS. “At the beginning of this week, Scott Stringer called us and said he wanted to keep us in business and he wanted to broker a deal with Cooper. It really was his efforts, to this effect, that we have a deal.”
Cooper Union has agreed to lower the store’s monthly rent by $2,500 — bringing it from $20,000 to $17,500 per month.
Contant said the landlord also forgave an owed balance of $7,500.
Stringer met with both sides on Wednesday and planned to unveil the details of the agreement at a press conference today.
Cooper Union could not be reached for comment.
The community has rallied behind the independent book store. Last month, about 40,000 community residents signed a petition to keep it at the location.
“Not only did they sign a petition but since September/October, our business has increased by 25 percent,” Contant said. “So people are doing the best thing they can do, which is coming and buying a book. I think for a lot of people they rediscovered the store.”
The petition was started by the Cooper Square Committee – an organization dedicated to preserving the community’s identity.
Students are expected to help revise the store’s business plan.
Cooper Union is facing financial troubles itself and may consider charging tuition for the first time in its history.
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