The rumors about Shakespeare & Co.’s possible closure are getting harder to ignore. The space that houses the decades-old bookstore, at 716 Broadway, is available for lease, said Brendan Gotch, director of retail leasing for Massey Knakal, who is handling the listing.
Margot Liddell, manager of Shakespeare & Co., said, “I really can’t comment on it until we don’t have the lease. Right now, it’s still our lease. We have the first option to sign.”
Shakespeare & Co. has another Manhattan location on the Upper East Side.
In a happier development, St. Mark’s Bookshop co-owner Bob Contant said that he and partner Terry McCoy are nearing the end of lease negotiations on their anticipated new home at 136 East Third Street. Contant said that he expects to sign a lease in the next seven to 10 days, adding that his lawyer just submitted comments on it.
St. Mark’s Bookshop is trying to raise $50,000 via Indiegogo to help make the move happen. “That’s about a third of what we need,” Contant said, noting that the store is also trying to generate funding at events, such as the reception it hosted Tuesday for artist Wolfgang Berkowski, who created the installation that will be featured at St. Mark’s current site, on Third Avenue, through the end of May.
Seventeen days remain in the Indiegogo campaign, which has received $25,000 in contributions. Still, Contant sounded upbeat enough to project signing the lease before the end of the fundraiser.
The address on East Third Street is just two blocks away from another bookshop, Mast Books. But Contant thinks that the close proximity will be good for the two stores. “I believe in clustering,” he said, explaining that Mast is different because they sell used books, arranged in a gallery-like collection. “The number of people coming into this store with Strand bags is endless.”
Also on the move: near Central Park. Despite a petition signed by 16,000 people, today the Landmarks Preservation Commission deemed the vaunted 95-year-old, six-story property at 31 West 57th Street ineligible for interior landmark protection (Rizzoli occupies three of the floors). Manhattan’s Community Board 5 will hold a rally there at 10 a.m. tomorrow, the store’s last day of business.
Earlier this week the store’s publicity director sent out an e-mail assuring, “We have been scouting out new locations in Manhattan, and I am delighted to report that we have seen several very promising spaces. While our 57th Street location will close its doors this Friday, April 11th, we very much plan — and expect to remain — a vital part of the city’s cultural fabric for many years to come.
All books are 40 percent off through Friday, both in-store and online.