In a bit of a shocking twist, a fairly new retail tenant will be closing its location at the Bay Plaza Shopping Center.
Just two years after taking over longtime Bay Plaza tenant Barnes & Noble’s location, it was recently announced that Saks OFF 5TH, a premium outlet and subsidiary unit of Saks Fifth Avenue, will close its only Bronx store at the end of October.
Saks OFF 5TH, which held its grand opening ceremony in August 2017, took over the location at 290 Baychester Avenue after bookseller chain Barnes & Noble called the Bay Plaza Shopping Center its home for more than 15 years.
The store closure is part of a plan by Saks to close up to 20 of its Saks OFF 5TH stores by the end of 2019.
“Retail is strong in the Bronx and at the Bay Plaza Shopping Center, but it is to our understanding that Saks OFF 5TH will be closing a number of (its) stores,” said a spokesperson from Prestige Properties & Development Company, which owns the shopping center.
Prestige Properties would not comment further regarding a potential tenant to replace Saks OFF 5TH.
According to Hudson’s Bay Company, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue, HBC is performing a review of its Saks OFF 5TH fleet of stores and has confirmed that this location is just one of many anticipated closures.
In total, Saks OFF 5TH has 133 stores in the country, which means that Saks will be closing about 15 percent of its SAKS OFF 5TH stores nationwide.
“These decisions are never easy, but they are the right ones for the company,” said an HBC spokesperson. “We are committed to offering support and assistance to our team affected by the closing - all eligible associates will receive appropriate employment separation packages and transfer opportunities will be explored where feasible.
Barnes N’ Noble, who committed to a return to the borough within 24-36 months after they left the Bay Plaza Shopping Center in early 2017, could not be reached for comment as of press time.
In October 2014, when Barnes & Noble was originally slated to close, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. saved the day at the eleventh hour, securing a two-year lease extension after negotiating a deal with Prestige Properties. Diaz, Jr. called it “a major victory for the Bronx.”
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto also played a role in Barnes & Noble’s decision to extend their lease, holding petition drives and advocating for the bookstore to stay in the shopping center.