The Washington Post

Barnes & Noble closing in Union Station at end of year

This post has been updated to reflect that the former book store on 14th Street was a Borders, not a Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble plans to close its doors in Union Station Dec. 31, joining the list of other Washington-area book stores that have closed amid a rocky economy and sliding book sales.

The store, on the main floor near the station’s entrance above the Metro entrance, enjoys a visible spot for passengers and shoppers coming through the station.

But the space is being prepared for redevelopment, according to spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating, and though the chain considered relocating to other space in the station, it opted to close instead.

“The current store location is being redeveloped and we were offered another location within Union Station,” she said in an e-mail. “However the alternate location did not make sense.”

Barnes & Noble recently closed another store, on M Street in Georgetown. Beverley Swaim-Staley, head of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp., said she was aware that the closure was coming, but didn’t know what would happen with the space. “I know they are closing. I haven’t been given a final date,” she said.

Other book store locations did not remain empty for long. The two-story Borders store on 14th Street became the Hamilton, a restaurant and music venue by Clyde’s Group, after receiving a subsidy from the D.C. government. Nike opened a store in the former Georgetown Barnes & Noble last week.

The chain’s long competitor, Borders, has also shuttered stores, announcing in 2011 that it would close eight in the region, including at White Flint Mall and at 18th and L Streets downtown.

The closure will leave a major vacancy for Ashkenazy Acquisition, the New York City developer that leases space in the station through an agreement with the redevelopment corporation. Ashkenazy has not yet replaced the station’s movie theater, which remains vacant space in the station’s basement.

The blog Prince of Petworth reported the news earlier Wednesday.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

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