News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, November 14, 2022

Back to the Future: Barnes & Noble May Return to Reston Spectrum In Chain Store Bingo

Imagine this photo, taken with some primitive cellular telephone way back in ought-thirteen -- practically a daguerrotype -- only in reverse. If our BFFs at pornographic park-loving The Burn are correct, Barnes & Noble may be returning to the Spectrum. Wait, what?

Give us some good retail blockquote, BFFs at the Burn:

It looks like the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain is planning its triumphant return to Reston — almost a decade after it closed a store in the very same shopping center. The Burn has learned that B&N is planning on opening a new bookstore and cafe in The Spectrum at Reston Town Center. That’s the shopping complex just to the north of the Reston Town Center lifestyle center along Reston Parkway. The space that will become the bookstore appears to be the same space that formerly housed an Office Depot store. That’s next door to the Harris Teeter grocery store.

That's a lot of detail, but lengthy, monotonous lists of chain retail are how folks in Loudoun have to give directions anywhere.

But we digress. Supposedly B&N never wanted to leave Reston in the first place. And, as our favorite correspondent, the Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, points out, apparently our plastic fantastic fake downtown is now being referred to as a "lifestyle center," assuming paying for parking and walking by empty storefronts is a "lifestyle." 

But the weirdness continues! Today, our BFFs at the Burn reported that Whole Foods might be considering moving to where Best Buy once sat before it closed two years ago. (To give directions to Ashburnites, what we mean is "Next to the Container Store, which is across from Not Your Average Joes, which is behind the PetSmart, and across the Toll Road from the future Wegmans.") They posted this image from Spectrum owner Lerner's website as evidence of the move: 

We're not sure why a web log dedicated to the nirvana of Eastern Loudoun County has suddenly developed a fixation with Reston chain retail, but maybe with Wegman's imminent arrival they've decided we're worthy of being in the club. What's even stranger, though, is that almost all of Spectrum (except the part with Harris Teeter and the maybe B&N) was approved for a massive redevelopment back in 2013 -- not surprising, since its big box configuration was always envisioned as temporary until there was demand for more bollardy goodness like what the developers envisioned back in ought-thirteen:

Guess that demand isn't there yet. And maybe -- just maybe -- this round of Chain Bingo will end with a a happy ending to our shattered dreams:

A web logger can dream, can't they?

Update: Signage at the Spectrum location confirms that Barnes & Noble is looking to open in Spring 2023.


  1. Obligatory reminder that Reston has a non-chain bookstore -- Scrawl Books at RTC.

  2. And... your fancy algorithm just served me this ad right in the middle of the article: Retire to Costa Rica in 2022. Tempting, but we vow to continue our stand against the chain wasteland. -Rachel (owner of Scrawl)


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