Store closing leaves community with no options for new books
By Gregg MacDonald Staff Writer
After attempting to negotiate a lease renewal for more than a year, Reston’s Barnes & Noble has decided to pull up stakes and leave the area.
Barnes & Noble will vacate the 25,000-square-foot Spectrum Center shopping center facility in February and it will sit empty for several months until the Container Store moves in next fall. The accompanying Starbucks café also will close with the bookstore, a Barnes & Noble spokesman said.
The vacancy will leave Reston without any retail venues to purchase new books. Books-a-Million in Plaza America closed last year.
Spectrum Center is owned by a group of investors that includes Lerner Enterprises.
According to Barnes & Noble, the bookstore bent over backwards in an attempt to be able to remain in Reston but Spectrum Center’s owners were unwilling to renew the lease.
“We tried extremely hard to come to an agreement with the property owner to extend the lease at our Reston location, but despite our offering significant additional rent, the property owner was unwilling to agree to an extension,” said David Deason, vice president of development at Barnes & Noble.
But according to Spectrum Center’s owners, Barnes & Noble tried to get a rent reduction in their new lease and when they were told they were contractually obligated to pay a certain price, the bookstore decided instead to leave.
“The fact is, when the time came, Barnes & Noble chose not to exercise its option to renew its lease at Spectrum. When we contacted them about their decision not to renew, they requested a reduction in the option rent as a condition of remaining,” the center’s owners said in a statement. “We listened and engaged them in discussions for a period of more than one year, allowing them to remain in the space during such discussions despite the lease’s expiration. We obviously failed to reach an agreement. … The decision to leave at this time was made by Barnes & Noble, as they possessed the absolute right to remain at a fixed option rent that was well below market. We respect their business decision to make the choice that they apparently felt was the right approach for their company at this time.”
Barnes & Noble did not comment on how many employees at the bookstore and café would lose their jobs as a result of the store’s closing.
“In light of their decision, we obviously had to make choices in order to preserve the vibrant retail environment at the Spectrum for the Reston community,” Spectrum Center’s owners said concerning contracting with the Container Store to take over the retail space.
The Container Store did not immediately return emails seeking comment.
This is vary sad given the Sterling Borders closed a few years ago but then again my guess is B&N will attempt to take that fallow space over since eastern Loudoun is as bereft of book shops as North-Western Fairfax. For my Loudoun friends, is there any news on Ashburn? Do you have a bookshop there yet?