By REBECCA ISENHART
NISKAYUNA — DDR Corp. is closing the chapter on Barnes and Noble in Mohawk Commons so it can start another with a new business in the prime location, officials for the company that operates the mall said.
Barnes and Noble’s pending closure of its Mohawk Commons location, set for June 30, is part of a larger initiative dubbed “Project Accelerate” by DDR Corp., the property company that owns the building, to make way for higher-performing retailers to fill its retail spaces.
The company’s plan involves arranging for companies with below-market leases to terminate those leases early, freeing up stores for new tenants.
“This Barnes and Noble at Mohawk Commons was included in the first phase of Project Accelerate,” Matt Schuler, a DDR spokesperson, said.
No word yet, though, on which stores might take the place of the departing book retailer. Schuler was unable to discuss ongoing lease negotiations. The former Barnes and Noble will be divided into three smaller stores, a decision which was approved by the Town of Niskayuna early last month.
A May 29 press release offered a glimpse of the property company’s potential tenants for the newly vacated space. “Demand for new store growth from retailers such as Nordstrom Rack, Sprouts Farmers Market, Ulta, Whole Foods, Five Below, HomeGoods, Fresh Market, Marshalls, Trader Joe’s, White House Black Market, Gap Factory, Shoe Carnival, PetSmart and Carter’s represent a select group of merchants that DDR is in discussions with to backfill the recaptured locations,” it reads.
Priscilla Harvey, a Barnes and Noble shopper and Niskayuna resident, couldn’t think of any businesses the town would need more than a bookstore. “I think we have enough retail,” she said.
Harvey said she expects the closure to be a loss for many members of the community, from little girls in princess outfits to grown-ups, such as herself, looking for Nook e-book repairs. She also said an employee in the store had expressed disappointment about losing her longtime summer job.
And for her, the next-closest Barnes and Noble, in Colonie Center, just won’t cut it. “I don’t think everyone is going to go to Wolf Road,” Harvey said.
MORE: Read My Take, our weekly feature where community members share their opinions on Niskayuna issues. This week: what would you like to see replace Barnes and Noble when it closes?