Saturday, April 01, 2017
Barnes & Noble closing at Bethesda Row
rumored to be closing for years, with a Nike store at one point the subject of speculation as a replacement tenant. This time the lease is indeed up, and B&N is out.
"We had discussions with the property owner in hopes of agreeing to an extension of the lease," Deason said in a statement this morning, "but unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement." He said the North Bethesda store at Montrose Crossing will remain open.
The closing will be a severe blow to downtown Bethesda, and to foot traffic around Bethesda Row. It has served as everything from a meeting place, to a place to charge your gadgets during power outages. With a cafe upstairs, and a plaza out front, the bookstore has served as quasi-public space for the last two decades. Whoever the next tenant is will almost certainly not allow people to just hang out inside the store. Barnes & Noble has also been a symbol of Bethesda's highly-educated population, where you were as likely to bump into David Brooks or a CNN anchorman as you were your neighbor.
While the store had cut back nighttime hours in the aftermath of Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer's disastrous "nighttime economy" initiative, the collapse of downtown Bethesda's nighttime economy that initiative triggered is not believed to be the reason for the closure.