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Barnes & Noble commits to Bronx return in 24-36 months

Assemblyman Benedetto (l) and his legislative aide Leon Tulton, asked Caro Thomas to sign the petition to keep Barnes & Noble in the Bay Plaza Shopping Center.
Bronx Times
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It looks like the Bronx will not have to completely say “goodbye” to its only Barnes & Noble.

After it was recently announced that Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH would take over Barnes & Noble’s current 25,000 square foot location in the Bay Plaza Shopping Center next year, the fate of the borough’s only bookstore was unknown.

Fortunately, last week’s commitment from Barnes & Noble to return to the Bronx has eased the anxiety of many who didn’t want to see the iconic bookstore leave the borough for good.

“We are a borough of book lovers, and Barnes & Noble has been an institution in the Bronx for nearly two decades,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “My office will continue to work with Barnes & Noble in the coming months to help identify potential locations for new retail sites in our borough that will work with their updated business model.”

“We are also grateful to Prestige Properties for their previous efforts to extend Barnes & Noble’s lease and their commitment to hold space in their retail center for the bookseller, should they choose to return to Bay Plaza,” Diaz, Jr. added.

A shopping center spoksesperson said the still-unbuilt space would be held for Barnes & Noble for up to 36 months, while the book seller finalizes its new business model.

Prestige Properties & Development Company, the owner and operator of the Bay Plaza Shopping Center, who said they were excited to welcome SAKS OFF 5TH to the Bronx and offer their shoppers “an additional luxury option” with great price points”, did not confirm where the still unbuilt bookstore would be located.

“I’m very disappointed that Barnes & Noble is leaving the Bay Plaza Shopping Center,” said Assemblyman Michael Benedetto. “However, I am heartened that they have promised to return to the Bronx and that we’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of this bookstore for years to come.”

“It’s unfortunate that Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties have not been able to work out an agreement and I urge Barnes & Noble to look at alternative locations in the Bronx,” said Councilman James Vacca.

A Barnes & Noble spokesperson would not confirm a set date for its return to the Bronx, or if the store would be located in the Bay Plaza Shopping Center.

However, they did state that they would be dedicated to making the Bronx one of the destinations for the five new Barnes & Noble stores they will open around the country.

“We remain committed to working diligently with local officials to reopen a store in the Bronx in the future as we finalize our new store openings,” said David Deason, vice president of development for Barnes & Noble, Inc.

“This Barnes & Noble has been a fixture in Co-op City for many years and it’s sad when economics rule over service to the community,” said Councilman Andy King. “The closing of this Barnes & Noble isn’t the end of reading in the Bronx, but it’s a reminder that we must continue to utilize these venues and take full advantage of them while they are here.”

Last Wednesday, Assemblyman Benedetto launched a petition drive in front of Barnes & Noble in an attempt to showcase the borough’s overwhelming support for the bookstore chain that has called the Bronx and the Bay Plaza Shopping Center home for the last 15 years. A petition effort on change.org has also been signed and shared by many in order to keep Barnes & Noble.

Last month, Prestige Properties and Barnes & Noble each confirmed that the store would close at the end of 2016. Prestige Properties also confirmed that Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH would move into the location in March and open the new store in the summer of 2017. The store will be located at 290 Baychester Avenue.

Posted 12:00 am, November 15, 2016
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