The residents of a ritzy condo want taxpayers to pay them an “exorbitant” $15,000-a-month fee before renovations can be made to the Mid-Manhattan Public Library branch next to their building, a lawsuit charges.
The owners of 445 Fifth Ave. — where one-bedroom pads go for just under $1 million — are refusing to allow scaffolding and other construction safety equipment to be erected unless the fee is paid, according to the suit filed by the New York Public Library.
The Manhattan Supreme Court suit says the “imposition of a license fee is unjustified, not only because it is not required by the law, but because the fee would be required to be paid by a not-for-profit organization whose core mission and purpose is to provide books, education resources and programs for the people of New York City.”
“The license fee proposed [by the condo] will impact [the library], its patrons, and New York City taxpayers considerably,” according to court papers.
Library patrons agreed and slammed the fee demand, which could total $450,000 for the planned, 30-month renovation.
“That’s just so much money. That’s very greedy,” said Laura Smith, 24, an actress who came from Brooklyn to get a script before realizing that the branch closed on Aug. 1 for the $200 million overhaul.
“They should do it for free. It’s disgusting, terrible — it’s a library,” fumed another bibliophile, Angela Huff, 63.
Construction at the branch, located next to the condo at Fifth Avenue and East 40th Street, is expected to start next month.
But the project can’t move forward until the condo board grants the branch access to parts of its building to put up the needed scaffolding and other protections.
“Any project delays would deprive the public of this much-needed addition to New York City’s public library system, and would divert funds from other important library projects,” according to court papers.
The condo also is trying to restrict the hours when demolition and rebuilding can take place to weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., even though city code allows for longer periods, the suit says.
The library’s attorneys are headed to court in the coming days for permission to install the construction protection on the condo’s property.
A spokeswoman for the board did not immediately return a request for comment.
The revamped branch across the street from the library’s main branch will hold more than 400,000 books and is scheduled to open by the end…