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Give Three Lives Bookstore a Multi-Year Lease, Officials Urge Landlord

 Three Lives & Company is hoping the building's new owner will let the store stay at 154 West 10th St.
Three Lives & Company is hoping the building's new owner will let the store stay at 154 West 10th St.
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DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

WEST VILLAGE — Local elected officials want the landlord of one of the Village's last remaining independent bookstores to give the beloved store a longer lease on life.

Three Lives & Company is on a precarious month-to-month lease arrangement while the landlord looks to sell its building. In a letter by state Sen. Brad Hoylman, local officials urge the Levine family, owners of 154 W. 10th St., to give the store a multi-year lease.

"The sad fact is that our community has lost numerous independent bookstores in recent years, including the closures of Oscar Wilde Bookshop, Left Bank Books, and Partners & Crime and the relocation of Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks," reads the letter, signed by Hoylman, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and City Councilman Corey Johnson.

"Three Lives & Company is one of the last independent bookstores in our area," he continued. "It would be a loss for small business, the uniqueness of New York City and booklovers everywhere to see Three Lives & Company close at this location."

READ MORE: Where to Find Indie Bookstores in New York City

Three Lives has been at 154 West 10th St. for 33 years, and in the Village for even longer. Owner Toby Cox has said he hopes to be able to stay in the Village, if not in that space after a new owner is secured for the building.

Hoylman and the officials thanked the Levines for letting the bookstore stay on month-to-month, but asked that they offer a multi-year lease that would be "binding upon successive property owners, for a term of years at your discretion."

The issue is personal for Hoylman, who lives on West 10th Street near the store and sees it as "a Village institution."

"I’m a customer and I agree with those who said it’s just one of the greatest bookstores on earth," Hoylman told DNAinfo New York. "The staff is incredibly knowledgeable [and] the selections are always so thoughtfully curated."

Hoylman said he was grateful that Cox alerted his customers before it was too late.

"In most instances, we only hear about independent retail establishments after they’ve been forced out of their premises," he said. "Hopefully we can appeal to the better impulses of the landlord and weigh in on how important the bookstore is to the community.

"You know, they say the market has no morals, but it's our hope that maybe the landlord does."

Hoylman and his peers plan on contacting the new landlord, whenever one is found, to also urge them to offer a multi-year lease "and preserve this important Village mainstay."

The Levine family did not immediately return a request for comment.