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Construction on NYPL's new Mid-Manhattan branch can move forward

The NYPL scored a victory in a lawsuit against a neighboring condo building that was holding up construction

The New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan branch renovation can move forward without a hitch, now that a Manhattan Supreme Court judge has ruled in the library’s favor.

In August, the library filed a lawsuit against a neighboring condo building, which was trying to hold up construction by levying a $15,000/month fee on the library. Condo board members at 445 Fifth Avenue demanded that the NYPL cough up the funds for construction workers to access the condo, to hang safety equipment.

The NYPL argued that the license fee was unjust not just because it was not required by any law, but because it was being charged to a non-profit. Ultimately, the NYPL prevailed. Now the library can put up its scaffolding without any monthly fee.

"The Library is very pleased with today's decision, which allows us to move forward as planned with the renovation of our central circulating branch, Mid-Manhattan Library,” said Iris Weinshal, the NYPL’s chief operating officer. “Millions of New Yorkers will benefit from this important, city-funded project, and we are grateful to the court for ensuring that it will proceed without any unnecessary delays."

The Mid-Manhattan branch closed for a 30-month renovation on August 1 this year. The design team behind the renovation is comprised of Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle. In September, the library received a $55 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and this branch will be named after the foundation when it reopens in early 2020.