Barnes & Noble will close its Niskayuna store and the space will be subdivided into three separate retail spaces, town officials have confirmed.
Town Supervisor Joe Landry said the town received an application within the past week detailing the plans. The Daily Gazette obtained those plans Wednesday morning.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Landry. “I’m not sure if it’s something that is happening because of the current bookselling market. I don’t know why it’s happening.”
Barnes & Noble opened a store in the town’s Mohawk Commons shopping center in November 2003. At the time, it employed about 80 people.
A store manager on Tuesday said she was not aware that the store would be closing. Company spokesman Alan McNamara said Tuesday evening he would have to look into the matter.
But company executives at the nation’s last major bookstore chain have recently declared they would be closing about 20 of the chain’s more than 600 stores each year for the next decade. The closure of its Niskayuna store would leave just two Barnes & Nobles locations in the Capital Region — one in Colonie and one in Wilton.
The retailer of books, magazines, newspapers and digital products has transformed itself in recent years from a store-based business to a multi-channel business centered on not just its stores, but digital commerce. In 2009, it came out with the Nook e-reader, which gave it a temporary boost but has seen a drop in sales over the past few years due to the overcrowded tablet market.
The last year has been a turbulent one for the bookseller. In the summer of 2013, Chief Executive William Lynch abruptly resigned. And just last week, the publicly traded company lost one of its major backers, Liberty Media, causing its stock to sharply drop.
It’s unclear who would occupy the 24,000-square-foot hole left at Mohawk Commons. The open-air shopping center at State Street and Balltown Road is leased and managed by DDR Corp., an Ohio-based owner of 406 shopping centers across the country and in Puerto Rico and Brazil. Other major tenants at the site include Lowe’s, Target, Price Chopper, Marshalls, Bed Bath and Beyond, PetSmart, Old Navy, Party City and Famous Footwear.
Town Planner Kathy Matern confirmed Wednesday that the plan to subdivide the space went before the town’s planning board Monday night. She said they’re currently under review and no further action will be taken on the proposal until at least April 21.
The plans show that DDR is looking to subdivide the space into three leasable areas of 11,840 square feet, 8,000 square feet and 4,000 square feet.
Tyler Terhune, a DDR official in charge of retail leasing at the center, did not return a call or email for comment Tuesday evening.
Reach Gazette reporter Bethany Bump at 395-3107 or [email protected]