Cooper Union Says No to Lowering St. Mark's Bookshop's Rent

st marks bookshop.jpg
St. Mark's Bookshop and the surrounding community have been campaigning for landlord Cooper Union to lower the store's rent from $20,000 to $15,000 a month. The Cooper Square Committee yesterday delivered to Cooper Union a petition that accrued nearly 44,000 signatures, but it wasn't enough: the bookshop's rent will not be lowered.

The bookshop's owners, Bob Contant and Terry McCoy, met with Cooper Union vice president of finance administration T.C. Westcott yesterday and were told they wouldn't receive a rent reduction, reports the Daily News.

Cooper Union offered the owners a deal in which they'll be able to defer a month's rent and pay it back over time. We spoke with Bob Contant today, who said that the rent deferral is "no solution."

"You're just adding debt, is what you're doing," he said.

Contant said that the store doesn't have a fallback plan. "We're extremely disappointed that nothing can be done," he said. He clarified that the store is not in danger of immediately closing, as business has been extremely good for the last two months, spurred by the outpouring of support for the bookshop in the community.

It's been reported that the owners of St. Mark's Bookshop where set to meet with Cooper Union president Jamshed Bharucha tomorrow, but Contant told us that Cooper Union canceled the meeting. CU spokeswoman Claire McCarthy said that the cancellation "must have been due to a schedule change in his office."

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

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