Reston Barnes & Noble Closing in Early 2013

The Container Store will open in bookstore space as Spectrum gets ready for new look and expansion.

Reston's Barnes & Noble will close its doors in February 2013.

The lease for the longtime tenant at The Spectrum shopping center was not renewed. Lerner Enterprises, which owns the shopping center, says The Container Store will take over the 25,000-foot space in the fall of 2013.

 Barnes & Noble has shuttered many brick-and-mortar stores nationwide over the last two years as more people turn to iPad and e-reader books. As of now, there is no plan to open another location nearby.

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.

“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.”

Barnes & Noble's departure leaves Reston without a book store in which to purchase new books. Reston's Used Book Shop, located at will celebrate its 35th anniversary in January.

The Spectrum is set to undergo a massive renovation in coming years. Plans have been in the works for nearly a decade to transform the strip malls, home to such stores as   PetSmart and Office Depot.

After more than a year of delays and deferrals from the developers, the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Nov. 1 recommended for approval the renovation plans, which include a proposal for a mixed-use development. featuring 774,879 square feet of non-residential space and 1,426 multifamily housing units.

The new Spectrum will also feature a minimum of 4,648 parking spaces and 30 percent open space.

There are also plans to replace the five-story building at 1760 Reston Parkway, just next to The Spectrum, with a 23-story retail and office tower. That plan was approved by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year.

The Spectrum plan will next move on to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval. No date has been set.

"The proposed redevelopment of the application site requires the gradual removal and redevelopment of the existing Spectrum shopping center, with the exception of the existing Harris Teeter/Office Depot and drive-in financial institution which are located in the north end of the subject property," says a county staff report on the project.

To read the entire staff report, click here.

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Ruth Tatlock December 06, 2012 at 02:15 PM
This is just tooo sad! Container store!
T-Bird December 06, 2012 at 03:06 PM
...because there's a greater demand for empty boxes than for books and music. Hopefully that's not true, but somebody at Learner seemed to think so. Morons.
Susan and Kyle Alger December 07, 2012 at 02:48 AM
So sad to hear! The folks at Barnes and Noble have been wonderful corporate neighbors--for many years they have sponsored a holiday effort to have customers donate new books to the children of Embry Rucker Shelter, Laurel Learning Center and other Reston Interfaith programs. Their employees have worked tirelessly to promote the program and bring in books for some of this area's neediest children. They will be missed!
Greg Golem December 07, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Barnes & Noble wants to stay and pay a higher fee, but the landlord Lerner Enterprises does not want them, even though the bookstore has served the community for years,... this makes no sense at all. Barnes & Noble adds quality to life in our area, an environment to learn and explore for the whole family, a retail space that allows one to relax, browse, have a coffee and purchase books, magazines, toys, music or hear an author speak. It is more than a store, for it has grown into a community cultural gathering spot, a place to take a mindful breather while in a general shopping box store area, something a Container store cannot provide. Lerner Enterprises is failing our community with this decision, for there are plenty of other sites for a Container store to build or occupy, while a retail cultural center is being killed off! I hope Barnes and Noble can find a new home in our area once again, what a bummer!
Don Joy December 07, 2012 at 02:09 PM
The article doesn't say it, but the only explanation I can come up with is that Barnes & Noble, although offering to pay higher rent, wouldn't agree to an increase in rent as high as Lerner wanted--that Barnes & Noble's market position/viability cannot justify the asked-for rent level to keep the store open. As more and more brick-and-mortar bookstores close throughout the country, it doesn't make sense to blame the landlord in this case, Lerner, who apparently is merely seeking to host retailers whose business model conforms to market conditions/demand. The internet has changed things, and that's not Lerner's fault.
Don Joy December 07, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Do you think it's Lerner's fault that the internet has changed the way people buy books and music, and that Barnes & Noble probably cannot afford to pay an increase in rent as high as market conditions require? Is Lerner in business to host a museum, or to keep pace with actual market conditions in a competitive environment?
Don Joy December 07, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Sounds like Barnes & Noble decided they couldn't realistically agree to what Lerner was asking for in the lease renewal, and that The Container Store's business model and prospects allow them to agree to it. Is that Lerner's fault?
Don Joy December 07, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I happen to love that store too, and the environment/ambiance it provides, etc.--I also am sad to see it go. But I also miss things like getting a handwritten, personal letter in the mail instead of an email. Should I be indignant and engage in name-calling, seeing that electronic communication has replaced the Pony Express?
Linda December 07, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Lerner should be ashamed of itself for its greediness. I for one will NEVER EVER go to that container store.....
Don Joy December 07, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Were you "greedy" when you shopped for a better deal on whatever it was you bought last week, or last month, or whenever? Why is it Lerner is "greedy" when seeking keep pace with actual market conditions in a competitive environment? Should they instead see their enterprise as oriented more toward hosting a museum? How would such an enterprise stay open, donations and taxpayer funding perhaps? Maybe you'd be willing to pay twice the price of what a book goes for online, so that Lerner would be dissuaded from renting to other companies who can actually afford--based on market-driven business models--to continue to make payments as costs increase due to inflation and to democrat policies? Does money grow on trees, or are activities subject in the the long run to economic forces and reality?
Greg Golem December 07, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Don, based on the information given in the article, there is nothing there that supports your speculation that Barnes & Noble is not profitable or viable in its current location, or could not meet the Landlord, Lerner Enterprises, demands for a new lease. Do you have inside information that no else does, or do you work for Lerner Enterprises? I'm baffled by your unconditional support for Lerner in various replies here, and your bias against Barnes and Noble. The only facts we have stated is that 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. “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." The Washington D.C. area, including Northern Virginia, always rates high in terms of book sales nationally, plus the Reston Barnes and Noble is a busy store, with lines at the cashier even during week days. Even with e-books and internet sales taking over, brick and mortar Bookstores are still profitable in the right location. Perhaps your speculation is correct, but there is no way to know, heck, It could be all due to the Mayan Calendar if speculation is all we have to go by!
Don Joy December 07, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Fair enough, but what makes the words of Barnes & Noble's VP any more reliable than the PR spin of any other organization which seeks to put the best face on otherwise apparently adverse developments? Let's suppose that what he said is true, down to the letter; in that case, is Lerner somehow obligated to reach an agreement with B & N instead of renting to The Container Store, which may be offering payments and terms far more favorable? Seeing as we are all speculating, it makes the most sense to conclude that which is most likely. Should we all get upset that people actually do patronize a business such as The Container Store?
Greg Golem December 07, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Don, I don't mean to totally dismiss your thoughts on why Barnes & Noble is leaving Reston, for all we know you may be right. The article only gives limited information as to the whys, only acknowledging that the bookstore chain wants to stay and offered to pay more money for the space, yet is leaving. It's possible that the Container Store is willing to pay more and is more viable for future growth, so Lerner prefers them. It's strange seeing one business being favored over another if costs are the same, especially when a relationship has existed since the complex was built. Barnes & Noble is good shopping environment to learn, relax and spend time in. Like many bookstores in our cultural history, it serves as a gathering place for like minded curious and literate people. I would much prefer an independent book seller, a local owner that I can support, but Barnes & Noble has been a good corporate partner to the community at large. B&N also has a large internet presence for sales, with lower prices and a buyers club one can join to get further discounts that match or even beat Amazon prices. B&N can be a go-to destination on its own, but also attracts people to the general shopping area nearby due to it's casual laid back environment, like a theatre or restaurant, leading them to go and explore other businesses nearby. I think there is room for a brick and motor bookstore in the Reston/Herndon area, and I believe it can be profitable.
Linda December 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I'm saying Lerner is greedy for the fact - not that they want to build a container store - but for the fact that they are going to be tearing down all the other buildings there (except for the Office Depot and Harris Teeter) - in order to put up more condos - more office buildings. Who is going to go into those office buildings and condos? Do you see all of the ones that are empty in the area already? The people I talked to at B & N today said the same thing. I already pay more for books by shopping at the B & N store itself rather than shopping for books online. So I'm putting my dollars into keeping the store there and keeping the employees working. Now MORE people are going to be out of jobs - once B & N closes - once all the other places there close. I also visit the restaurants there - and Starbucks - and so on. Putting my money back into the economy. Like one of the booksellers said today, can you see a mother and father saying to their kids - hey, let's go to the container store and look at some plastic! We used to go to story time, but hey,looking at plastic is just as much fun.... uh huh.... From what I've heard (and I don't know if this is true) but B & N wanted a longer lease. Container Store was willing to go with a shorter one....
James December 09, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Amazon et al. killed Barnes and Noble. Plain and simple. I can read a book on my kindle or ipad. B&N had ridiculous prices for books, DVDs, and CDs the market reacted. Blame the free market and the internet. A container store occupying that retail space has nothing to do with the decline of western civilization. Netflix and Redbox annihilated Block Buster, and we are all better off as a result.
Greg Golem December 09, 2012 at 10:49 AM
The Reston Barnes & Noble is not shutting down to lack of sales James, for customers and the purchase of books, magazines, DVDs and children's games are plenty and profitable, it all has to do with lease negotiations and the preferences of the landlord, Lerner Enterprises. Physical bookstores still have a place for those who love to read, explore and most importantly, socialize outside the corner of the house with the glowing screen that saves you a few dollars but robs one of the physical tactile magic of the literary world.
Linda December 09, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Greg, You hit it on the nailhead. For those people who only want to shop online for books - and other items - the closing of this B & N doesn't mean much. But for us who like to have the tactile experience of browsing among the stacks - finding hidden gems - that online experience can never compare. As you said, it saves them a few dollars, but they are missing out out such a lovely experience.... I feel, when I walk into the doors of the Reston B & N, as if I can breathe again - the noise is silenced in my head - and I find peace among the books...
Don Joy December 09, 2012 at 06:26 PM
We have no evidence that B&N has been able to make their prior lease payments on time, etc.
Don Joy December 09, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Fine, but we have no evidence that B&N has been able to make their prior lease payments on time, etc. Lerner knows their business, their presence in NoVa is one of successful decision-making. The fact that many people, including myself, enjoy the ambiance of a store doesn't necessarily mean it should be propped up indefinitely.
Don Joy December 09, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I don't work for Lerner. My attitude has mainly to do with a reaction to the kind of thinking (non-thinking, more likely) that predominates among those who are complaining about this--it's the same brainless emotionalism that got Obama elected twice, which thinks capitalism is the problem, rather than runway socialist spending. .
Don Joy December 09, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Don Joy December 09, 2012 at 06:51 PM
How do you know any of this? available evidence points in the opposite direction.
Don Joy December 09, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Linda, that's nice and I feel the same way, but feelings do not trump reality.
Don Joy December 09, 2012 at 06:57 PM
You think you know Lerner's business better than they do? Plus, the individual habits & preferences of those willing to buck the market trend do not trump aggregate consumer behavior.
Greg Golem December 10, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Linda, I know exactly what you mean in terms of the anticipation one gets of walking into a bookstore. Of course this is something that not all people feel or appreciate, but those passionate for books and learning can and do feel such emotions, much like sitting in a theater before a closed curtain, waiting for it to open and reveal the mysterious unknown story about to unfold. If a bookstore closes because it does not have enough sales and cannot meet the rent or payroll, then it is understandable that it would close, much as Borders did. In this case, with the facts that are known and so far presented, a successful bookstore willing to pay more for staying in its location but is being denied by the property owners, it makes no sense and is a puzzle that leads to a lot of obvious speculation and unfortunately, some who want to turn this whole topic into some fanciful political argument.
Greg Golem December 10, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Don, I have been reading the replies you have made today, and I want so much to give you the benefit of the doubt that you may know what you are talking about concerning Lerner Enterprises, lease agreements and how Barnes & Noble may not be a viable business for its location. But when you invoked politics, President Obama, calling all those who disagree with you as unthinking brainless emotionalist topped with socialism, well,… sorry, you've lost any credibility and are now cruising the waters of partisan woo woo politics, trying now to inject it into this Patch column. There is nothing to this story concerning Barnes & Noble, The Container Store and Lerner Enterprises that portends to include the political divide that is now facing our country. These are three successful capitalistic business enterprises competing for a space in our community, and people who are passionate about books are trying to understand why it is leaving and expressing support for it staying. Bringing politics and slinging mud around the replies section is just another example of the down side of internet communication, where under the web of anonymity people get mean spirited and get angry at someone they cannot see or touch. It is one reason I rarely ever comment on the net, but did because the story is local and asks more questions than it answers. Geez, the national election is over, lets talk books, local business and community and how we can create vibrancy on these issue in our community.
Greg Golem December 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM
There was a petition reported in the Reston Patch concerning saving the Reston Barnes & Noble. What good it would do I have no idea, but at least it sends a message to the parties involved that certain people in the community care about having a physical bookstore stay and be supported in our community. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-reston-barnes-nobles/
Don Joy December 10, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Greg, what you say is not true. Regarding the Barnes & Noble store, certain people are not merely "trying to understand why it is leaving and expressing support for it staying"--they are defaulting to knee-jerk attacks on a company like Lerner, calling Lerner "morons," deriding The Container Store, accusing Lerner of "greed," and the usual leftist bilge. These are the people who infest the Reston area, driving their Priuses with their Obama bumper stickers. I'm merely putting the controversy--and their remarks--in proper context.
Don Joy December 10, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Notice also, Greg, that some of us don't "hide behind a web of anonymity." And the people who first got "mean-spirited and angry" on this thread were the ones who immediately launched into attacks and name-calling against Lerner.


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