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Book Revue landlord: Another bookseller may replace the iconic Huntington store

Emerson Dobbs III, one of Book Revue's landlords,

Emerson Dobbs III, one of Book Revue's landlords, outside his home in Greenlawn, Tuesday. Credit: Jeff Bachner

One of the landlords of the Book Revue in Huntington says he would like to help keep a bookseller in the location of the soon-to-be evicted independent bookstore.

Emerson Dobbs III said on Wednesday that he has been contacted by a company that wants to take over part of the 15,870-square-foot space at 313 New York Ave.

"It’s a book reseller with a contract from one of the publishing houses," Dobbs said. "We are working with them to occupy part of the space."

That may be good news to the hordes of people on social media lamenting the end to the beloved bookstore, which has been one of the town’s signature businesses for 44 years but owes Dobbs more than $420,000 in back rent.

One customer, Stanley Horowitz of Old Bethpage, said he and his wife love traveling the 17 minutes to Huntington to have dinner and then stroll around the Book Revue. He said he’ll miss it.

"The incentive to go to Huntington won’t be there because what do you do after dinner? Walk around aimlessly or get dinner and go home afterward. There are very few places open to meander around after dinner."

Dobbs is one of 10 investment partners of 263-265 Main Corner LLC, which owns the building where the Book Revue is located. He serves as the building’s property manager.

He said since Newsday reported Monday that the Book Revue would be vacating the space, he has gotten mean-spirited emails from people angry because they think the tenant, Richard Klein, the Book Revue owner, is being forced out.

He said after taking Klein to court this spring over nonpayment of rent, Klein agreed to terms in a settlement signed Aug. 4. The court document stipulates that the Book Revue Inc. agrees to a $420,159.75 judgment and a warrant of eviction effective Sept. 30.

Dobbs said he and his partners took the deal because it was more favorable than what they could have gotten through trial.

"There was no reason not to accept it," Dobbs said. "They are vacating on their own terms," Dobbs said.

The Book Revue put $20,000 in escrow in an agreement signed by Klein, guaranteeing it will vacate by Sept. 30, otherwise it forfeits the money, Dobbs said.

Klein said he had hoped the landlord would have been a bit more flexible in working out a deal given the COVID-19 pandemic, so he was surprised when he was taken to court.

"We encouraged the Book Revue to file for the government rent relief programs, but they declined," Dobbs said. "They could have filed a COVID hardship with the court to get a stay of the eviction, but they did not."

Klein said he did explore all his options in rent relief programs but was not aware of programs that can stave off an eviction.

"Rather than he and I doing this through the newspaper tell Emerson Dobbs to give me a call," Klein said, when asked if he wanted to work something out to stay in the space.

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