It’s been touch and go the past several years for the Bronx Barnes & Noble book store.
But the stand alone store’s future doesn’t look too bright after more than 15 years in the Bay Plaza Shopping Center.
The retail titan, which features a Starbucks, a lounge area and a Barnes & Noble, Jr. section for young readers, is not getting a lease renewal for its present location from the shopping center’s landlord, Prestige Properties.
According to a Barnes & Noble spokesperson, the Bay Plaza location is scheduled to close by the end of the year.
“We worked hard to extend our lease and had extensive discussions with the property owner in hopes of coming to an agreement,” said David Deason, vice president of development at Barnes & Noble. “We’ve announced that we’re opening five new stores around the country and we’ll certainly consider the Bronx as a potential location for a new store in the future.”
Deason added that although Barnes & Noble was paying substantial rent at the Bay Plaza location, Prestige Properties had decided to lease the space to another retailer who was willing to pay more.
The new tenant is a major women’s apparel department store.
According to reliable sources efforts are ongoing to relocate the book giant to the Mall at Bay Plaza.
There are many who would said they would be deeply saddened to see the largest retail bookseller in the country leave the shopping center, or the Bronx entirely.
“We want them to stay – they have a major presence here,” said Councilman James Vacca, who played a part in extending Barnes & Noble’s lease two years ago, along with Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “If this bookstore closes, we are looking at Manhattan or Yonkers as the nearest Barnes & Noble location.”
“The Bronx is entitled to these services, and if they do indeed leave the shopping center, I would absolutely welcome them in my district,” Vacca added. “They can’t withdraw from an entire borough, especially considering that the location has been successful and busy for many years.”
“We definitely want them to stay here,” said Johanne Rubino, second vice chairperson of Community Board 11, who said that if Barnes & Noble did leave the shopping center, that it should remain in the Bronx and consider the Throgs Neck Shopping Center. “They have a great relationship with the community and especially with the schools in the area. It’s also a great place to host book signings and other events.”
“It would be a big loss if they left the borough,” said Martin Prince, chairman of CB 10. Hopefully they stay in the Bronx.”
In October 2014, Diaz, Jr. saved the day at the eleventh hour and negotiated with Prestige Properties to secure a two-year lease extension, calling it a “major victory for the Bronx.”
Prestige Properties, did not return a request for comment as of press time.