Well, the rumor that was first surfaced by our BFFs at Patch over the weekend has been confirmed: The Barnes & Noble in Reston's Spectrum Center is closing after the holiday season. Much to our surprise, it is not being replaced by a purveyor of frozen yogurt, artisanal cupcakes or salad. What's really surprising is that it's being replaced at all, given that Spectrum owner Lerner recently revived its longstanding plans to redevelop the big-box center into the usual bollardy mixed-use highrise goodness -- plans which were approved by the county's Planning Commission last month.
In case you're keeping score at home, B&N is being replaced by The Container Store, which sells… containers, we guess. And after the departure of Books a Million, Bretanos at RTC, and the independent bookstore at North Point, Reston's only remaining bookstore will be its first one -- the used bookstore at Lake Anne.
What's weird about this all is that even with the
imminent demise of the printed word and all the antiquated, industrial-era business models still desperately clinging to it challenges of the bookselling industry, what with all those fancy "Kindles" and whatnot, B&N didn't choose to leave -- it was apparently pushed by the Spectrum's owners.
David Deason, Vice President of Development at Barnes & Noble, said the company wanted to stay in Reston and was willing to pay more to do so.Who knows, maybe the Lerners just like containers.
“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," he said in an email. "We regret that we will be closing this location at the end of February, 2013.”
It does make us wonder exactly how long Lerner plans to wait to begin redeveloping Spectrum, assuming the project wins final approval from county supervisors. We figured they wouldn't have restarted the approval process if they didn't have plans to get rolling soon, but it's unlikely that the Container Store would have agreed to move all its fancy containers into a new space without a multi-year lease.
Of course, all this just gives us an excuse to enjoy some of the details from the site plans for the Spectrum redevelopment (ginormous PDF file):