Wednesday, November 4, 2020

[UP FOR GRABS] Local Barnes & Noble Store Marketed as "Redevelopment Opportunity"

A new sales flyer from Atlanta-based The Shopping Center Group indicates that the Cumberland area Barnes & Noble Bookseller store could soon close, as it's being marketed for redevelopment.  The store, located at the corner of Akers Mill Road and Cobb Parkway, occupies a prime 2.4 acre parcel with tremendous street visibility.  The 20,176 square foot two-level freestanding store, which Cobb County property documents indicate was built in 1996, is one of the few remaining large format bookstores in metro Atlanta.  

Barnes & Noble, which was taken private in 2019, reportedly plans to focus on smaller format stores in the future, as it navigates a path toward continuing operations in the wake of rises of both ebooks and Amazon, among other consumer shifts.  This move, highlighted by the company's September closure of its approximately 55,000 square foot Upper East Side store in New York City, could mean the closure of additional stores, too.  The retailer, whose former New York store has already been leased to Target, did say it is "actively looking" to reopen in a smaller space within the neighborhood.  

The bookseller currently operates thirteen stores in the greater metro Atlanta area. In addition to the Cumberland outpost, they include those on Peachtree Road in Buckhead, North Point Parkway in Alpharetta, Perimeter Center West in Dunwoody, Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners and Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw, among others.  

The move to smaller more localized stores is especially interesting when you consider that B. Dalton, a now defunct mall-based small format bookseller, was, for much of its existence, owned by Barnes & Noble.  The retailer, which once had locations in Lenox Square, Northlake Mall, North DeKalb Mall, Gwinnett Place Mall and a freestanding location in Toco Hills, among others, liquidated all but two high traffic stores as of 2010.  

Cobb County tax records indicate that the Cumberland area store - 2952 Cobb Parkway - is valued at more than $5.8 million.  Given both the high barriers to entry and "in your face" location of the parcel, it is likely to sell for an amount in excess of its appraised value.  That said, a sale is not a forgone conclusion and it may not happen for some time.  The high cost of the site limits its potential uses and multifamily/mixed-use redevelopments are, as a result, perhaps the most likely.  

Across from the Barnes & Noble, Brookfield Properties recently back-filled the former two-story Sears at Cumberland Mall with four new tenants.  A combo Dick's Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy store opened earlier this summer on the upper level, followed by Planet Fitness, around the corner, also on the upper level.  In the coming months, Round1, an entertainment venue featuring arcade games and bowling, among other features, is expected to open in the lower level of the former Sears space. 

The former Sears Auto Center and surrounding land/parking lots, are slated for redevelopment, too, but both the timeline and content of the redevelopment is said to be under review in light of the pandemic and its effects on the office market.  Phase one of the redevelopment, a 312 unit multifamily development, is likely to proceed as planned, but phases two and three, which centered on adding nearly 500,000 square feet of office space between two new towers, is likely to be further reviewed/scaled back.  

What would you like to see open in place of Banes & Noble near Cumberland Mall?  Do you think smaller book stores are the way of the future?  If you could bring back Chapter 11, Turtle's Records & Tapes, Oxford Books... or Media Play, which would you most like to see again? Why?

Please share your thoughts below. 

2 comments:

Ham said...

I love browsing in bookstores and truly miss Oxford Books, but also miss the Borders Buckhead. Both stores had great selections and very knowledgeable helpful staff. I enjoy Eagle Eye in Decatur, but obviously they don't have the large selection.

B&M stores have to find that right balance of best sellers, but also those unique and/or new selections that you would never know about if you didn't see in a store. I bought Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil at Borders Buckhead months before anyone else heard of it. I also picked up a cop of an Atlanta School system history book from 1939 at Eagle Eye. Very interesting to see how we look at history then and now.

Also, Turtles would be great, but only if they'll redeem my Stamps!

Anonymous said...

I live in Cobb and this B&N is a good one that stays busy most days. Of course I understand the property is valuable and the company is trying to turn things around with smaller stores.

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