Fifth Ave Condo Res­i­dents De­mand up to $450K to Al­low Li­brary Ren­o­va­tions

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By Rachel Shapiro

The New York Pub­lic Li­brary is sup­pos­edly be­ing held hostage by condo own­ers. Ac­cord­ing to a law­suit, be­fore con­struc­tion can be­gin on the Mid-Man­hat­tan Pub­lic Li­brary branch next to their build­ing, the res­i­dent of a lux­ury condo want to be paid an “ex­or­bi­tant” $15,000-a-month fee by tax­pay­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to a law­suit filed by the New York Pub­lic Li­brary, the own­ers of the lux­ury con­do­minium lo­cated at 445 Fifth Av­enue, in which a one-bed­room unit costs nearly $1 mil­lion, are de­mand­ing to be paid a fee in or­der to per­mit scaf­fold­ing anf other safety equip­ment for the li­brary’s con­struc­tion to be put up.

The suit in Man­hat­tan Supreme Court states that the “im­po­si­tion of a li­cense fee is un­jus­ti­fied, not only be­cause it is not re­quired by the law, but be­cause the fee would be re­quired to be paid by a not-for­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion whose core mis­sion and pur­pose is to pro­vide books, ed­u­ca­tion re­sources and pro­grams for the peo­ple of New York City.”

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, “The li­cense fee pro­posed [by the condo] will im­pact [the li­brary], its pa­trons, and New York City tax­pay­ers con­sid­er­ably.”

The li­brary re­fuses the de­manded fee, which for the planned 30-month ren­o­va­tion could end up cost­ing $450,000.

Next month, con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be­gin at the branch which is next door to the condo build­ing at Fifth Avenus and East 40th Street. How­ever, un­til the condo board pro­vides the branch with ac­cess to ar­eas of the build­ing so that the nec­es­sary scaf­fold­ing and other pro­tec­tions can be erected, there is no way for the project to move for­ward.

Ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers, “Any project de­lays would de­prive the pub­lic of this much-needed ad­di­tion to New York City’s pub­lic li­brary sys­tem, and would di­vert funds from other im­por­tant li­brary projects.”

The Post re­ports, “The condo also is try­ing to re­strict the hours when de­mo­li­tion and re­build­ing can take place to week­days be­tween 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., even though city code al­lows for longer pe­ri­ods, the suit says. The li­brary’s at­tor­neys are headed to court in the com­ing days for per­mis­sion to in­stall the con­struc­tion pro­tec­tion on the condo’s prop­erty. A spokes­woman for the board did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a re­quest for com­ment. The re­vamped branch across the street from the li­brary’s main branch will hold more than 400,000 books and is sched­uled to open by the end of 2019.”

"The need for af­ford­able hous­ing in Green­point and Wil­liams­burg is too high to leave even one stone un­turned.”

445 Fifth Av­enue

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