False alarm: Beloved independent bookstore McNally Jackson will not be vacating its Prince Street location, as previously speculated—in fact, it will be expanding its New York footprint.
The news comes via Vulture, which reported that not only did bookstore owner Sarah McNally come to an agreement over a massive rent hike with the Prince Street store’s landlord that allows it to stay in place, but also that McNally Jackson will be opening a similarly sized offshoot in Downtown Brooklyn’s City Point development. The independent seller is also poised to open a larger store at South Street Seaport, which has been in the works for several years.
It’s a lot to take in, so here are the deets by store: In October 2018, McNally Jackson’s Nolita space at 50 Prince Street appeared on the rental market after its landlord, Alex Berley, issued a 60 percent annual rent increase from $360,000 to $850,000.
McNally started the search for a new storefront in the neighborhood, and spared no harsh words about its current home in the meantime calling it a “shoddy building that was thrown up over a former chicken abattoir.” But as Jackson noted to Vulture, “Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
Fast forward a few months, and Berley and Jackson have come to the agreement of $650,000 in annual rent—still a significant jump—with gradual rent increases over the next five years, at which point McNally will be able to reassess the lease.
McNally Jackson’s Downtown Brooklyn store in City Point will neighbor Alamo Drafthouse and Target, and cover 5,300 square feet over two floors. Unlike at the Prince Street store, McNally thinks she’ll trade a café for larger stationary and young adult sections. McNally is also considering adding a science and technology section to the store.
The bookstore’s South Street Seaport location, which has been in the works for several years, will be its largest outpost. The two-floor store at Pier 17 will span 7,000 square feet with windows overlooking the water and the cobblestone streets of the historic district below. The store will feature old leather armchairs and a bar with outdoor seating, though not the literal labyrinth of bookshelves that McNally pitched to the landlord.
The City Point and Seaport stores will be McNally Jackson’s fourth and fifth locations, after a Williamsburg outpost and LaGuardia Airport storefront.