The de Blasio administration tagged the iconic Strand Bookstore’s building with a dreaded Landmark designation Tuesday — a move the owner says was a concession to locals so the mayor can build a tech hub in the area.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 8-0 to make the bookseller’s home at 828 Broadway a landmark — triggering onerous maintenance requirements that could send the 92-year-old shop’s ledgers into the red, according to owner Nancy Bass-Wyden.
“The thing that started it was Mayor Bill de Blasio,” she told The Post. “We just don’t want any more expenses. We don’t need it. It’s a brutal retail environment, and now we’re under siege.”
The store was caught in the crossfire of a larger battle between de Blasio and area preservationists over the mayor’s proposed Union Square Tech Training Center being built by his campaign donors nearby.
When de Blasio announced a rezoning at 120 E. 14th St. for the project, activists demanded the city designate the area a historic district to stanch an anticipated tide of glassy buildings expected to follow in the tech center’s wake.
The mayor and local City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera instead cherry-picked seven nearby buildings on Broadway, and Hizzoner ordered the landmarks commission to designate them in a token gesture to appease preservationists, Bass-Wyden said.
“We were symbolic trade-offs — an olive branch for his tech center,” fumed Bass-Wyden, who testified in December that a designation would “destroy” her business. “They [the commission] are all mayoral appointees. They pretend that this is a democratic process.”
The store compiled more than 11,000 signatures opposing the landmark status, but the commission pushed it through anyway — with one commissioner even going on the offensive against the embattled shop.
“I think their opposition is an expression of intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy in this case and it is incredibly disappointing to see that in full view,” fumed Commissioner Adi Shamir-Baron.
Many property owners oppose landmarking because construction on the buildings must then conform to LPC standards and use more-expensive “historical” materials.
Rivera claimed that won’t be a problem for The Strand.
“And after numerous conversations with LPC staff, I am confident in their assurances that the store will not be strapped with burdensome delays or hurdles should its owners need to change layout and design to react to future market realities,” she told The Post.
De Blasio’s office argued the city did its due diligence.
“This designation wasn’t rammed through — to the contrary, given concerns raised by the owner, an additional designation hearing was held and more time was taken to meet with the owner to address her concerns,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Jane Meyer, citing a February LPC hearing on The Strand.
Preservationists fighting the 21-story tech hub, meanwhile, have also accused the mayor of pay-for-play shenanigans, because the developer tapped to build it, RAL, was selected after having donated $10,000 to de Blasio’s now-defunct Campaign for One New York charity in 2015.
De Blasio was forced to disband the charity in 2016 following a criminal probe into its dealings. He dodged state and federal charges, but investigators found he and his aides had violated the “intent and spirit” of campaign finance law.
A separate city Department of Investigation probe determined the mayor violated ethics rules by taking donations from developers who had business before the city, according to a scathing report released in April.
Activists accused de Blasio of giving RAL a sweetheart deal on the development plan, because it would pay the city $1.6 million a year in rent for the tower, while the P.C. Richard and Son that occupies a current, two-story building on the lot paid $1.7 million annually.
“This deal was crooked from the beginning, and was always about dishing out favors to the mayor’s preferred lobbyists and donors,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
De Blasio’s office has claimed it chose the best bidder.