Their lease with Savanna, the real estate fund that owns One Court Square, ended on Saturday.
This is a sad loss for the Court Square community, which is growing everyday with many young families moving into the neighborhood. Now more than ever, they are in need of robust library services.
There are many parties at fault for letting this mishap occur. Savanna made it clear to Queens Public Library that it was not interested in working with them to extend their lease.
Keep in mind that Amazon was supposed to lease that space before building out their HQ2 campus on the Long Island City waterfront. Savanna is looking to make top dollar on the site.
State Senator Michael Gianaris wrote a letter to Savanna, hoping to extend the library’s lease until the end of 2020. Unfortunately, that effort was much too late.
Elected officials are also focusing their blame on QPL, which was given an extension from the original lease expiration date in August. They had six months to find a new, permanent home for the Court Square branch and did not produce.
QPL said in January that they have a “fiduciary responsibility” to manage both the short- and long-term implications of finding a new home in a neighborhood with skyrocketing rents. While that may be true, they should have taken that into account during the budget season.
While it’s easy to point fingers, what all parties must do now is put aside their differences and find a solution immediately. Court Square families deserve to have continuous library service, not mobile service once a week.
Everyone, from QPL and elected officials to business organizations, real estate companies and community groups, must come together and act urgently to find a viable space for a library.