The Strand Bookstore is a New York staple that has managed to stick around since 1927 despite the soaring rent prices that have pushed out so many longstanding establishments. This has been possible because the Wyden family purchased the building in 1997, but they’re now facing a challenge that may ultimately drive the bookstore out.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is considering protecting seven building in the Greenwich Village area, south of Union Square, and one of those is the Strand’s. While many New Yorkers and even employees of the bookstore are eager to see this building (which was built in 1902) become landmarked, owner Nancy Bass Wyden is fighting against it.
Wyden is arguing that by being landmarked the building will require increased regulations for maintenance that can end up being much more costly. In an interview with the New York Times she said, “By landmarking the Strand, you can also destroy a piece of New York history. We’re operating on very thin margins here, and this would just cost us a lot more, with this landmarking, and be a lot more hassle.”
This movement to preserve buildings in the area comes after fears that it will lose it’s character and end up becoming a massive tech hub as bigger buildings push out the historic ones—like the 21-story tech center that will replace the P.C. Richard & Son store.
The LPC was originally looking to preserve close to 200 buildings, but could only find 7 worth the honor.