The Library Club in London, a private members club for those in the literary, art, design and theatre industries, has closed after seven years after its rent was doubled.
Based in St Martin’s Lane, Soho, the organisation made a surprise announcement that it would be closed with immediate effect from today (Monday 6th January).
The club launched in July 2014 boasting a mini hotel, with room service and 24-hour concierge with a gym, all-day dining and various entertaining spaces.
In a statement entitled ‘Library is now Closed’, founder Ronald Ndoro wrote: “After seven wonderful years of operation, it is with considerable regret that I have to announce the closure of Library with effect from 06 January 2020. This is not something I anticipated happening. Sadly, after months of back and forth and then silence from the landlord leading up to the club’s rent review and contract date, I was informed just a couple of weeks ago of their decision to double the rent on the building. I requested a reconsideration and an extension of the end date of the lease but both were denied. This is unsustainable especially factoring in high business rates and the uncertainty Brexit brings.”
He wrote of the Library Club’s history: “The situation is particularly difficult for me as the building was no more than a shell when I took it over. My partners and I invested a considerable amount of time and money in restoring the premises making it the venue that it is today.”
All members will have their membership transferred to sister club Arboretum, based next door, a club that focuses on the environment and innovation.
Knights Of co-founder Stevens tweeted in response to the closure: “Sorry to see @LIBRARYLondon go —without their kindness @_KnightsOf would have been homeless in those early months."
He told The Bookseller how the club helped the formation of the inclusive publisher: “In the early months of Knights Of, Aimée and I were based in The Library and the team were hugely supportive of the company creation and our commercial, inclusive message for children's books. From offering access to meeting rooms, networking events and introducing potential investors, we are hugely indebted to the team for making one of the scariest stages in setting up so much easier.”
E-commerce consultant Ian Jones tweeted the following image (left) and said: "The sad tale of London landlords raising rent prices continues to close businesses. The Library Club on St Martin’s Lane in London the latest casualty."
Bookshops are also experiencing rent hikes with Caxton Books in Essex recently launching a crowdfunding appeal after its rent increased by 60%.