Demystifying the offices of the New York Public Library

Donnell Library as it is ROCKS — SAVE THE LIBRARY AS IT IS!!! thurs 11/15/2007 cellphone photo by trendy

The Orient-Express has signed an agreement with the New York Public Library to purchase 58,000 square feet for $59 million dollars. It “will allow” the Donnell Library to retain the 28,000 square footage that Orient Express did not purchase.

Some statements from the highest paid offices at the New York Public Library have left me completely mystified. With such credentials why did they not get the Donnell Library a far better deal? Why was it done in secrecy and so quick? Yes, so quick as to leave Orient-Express still scrambling to the New York City Council to approve the 11-12 floor hotel plan at the Donnell Library’s location.

“Dr. LeClerc’s salary increased in fiscal year 2005, which ended June 30 of last year, to $464,170 from $356,512, according to the library’s tax documents.”–NY Times

“The library — which has a budget of about $300 million and an endowment of around $660 million — has 90 locations in Manhattan, in the Bronx and on Staten Island.”–NY Times

The Orient-Express’s high-end desireability is well known in financial circles.

Sternlicht, (Starwood and Crillon in Paris) wants to expand luxury market presence. He owns 4.5% of OEH stock).
Schwartzman (Blackstone has billions of hotel company buyouts, they own Savoy Group in London).
Davis of Von Essen “hungry to add to its own collection.”

This would put the Donnell Library in a creme-de-la-creme position as Orient Express Club 21’s next door neighbor to hold steady for the best bid possible. Yet, no, only a $1,017 a square foot. Why? In its position across from MOMA, in the aura of the Rockefeller Center cachet, Donnell Library is worth a $1 billion or more to the Orient-Express. What went on behind those doors?

Why the pandering to the public about their perceived shortcomings of Donnell Library? Donnell Library is a beautiful library that serves its community well. Spacious, not any hotter than other libraries. Surely funds could have been raised to greenify the library as Time Warner’s 59th Street station. Its a poor, poor excuse for a very bad deal.

Paul LeClerc the current holder of President of the New York Public Library speaks about the old parts of the building, non-working elevators, air conditioners, too expensive to fix.

David Offensend, Chief Operating Officer of the New York Public Library, left his position at Evercore Partners as co-head (along with Blackstone alumni founders, Austin Beutner and Roger Altman) upon taking the library officer position in 2004. (see more at zoom) He tells us the library “was down on its luck. The cost of renovating Donnell is prohibitive. With this agreement, we’ll be able to embark on the creation of a technologically advanced Donnell Library for our users, one that can set the standard for the 21st century.”–to the New York Times

Evercore Partners deals with real estate ventures and private equity loans.

recent Evercore history:

August 7, 2007 Evercore looms

November 1, 2007 Evercore Booms

march 2006 sea containers sold its shares of orient express – wiki

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