Local Barnes & Noble set to close with lease’s expiration
The upcoming closure of a local Barnes & Noble Booksellers branch could make a significant mark in the pages of East Lansing’s history, community members said Wednesday.
Barnes & Noble, located at 333 E. Grand River Ave., will close its doors after Dec. 31, said Shawn Parker, a manager at the store. Employees of the store were asked not to provide further comment on the matter, he said.
A statement from the bookseller’s vice president of development David Deason confirmed the closure and said the timing was based on the termination of the company’s lease on the property.
“The current lease is at its end of term, and we will be closing the store at the end of this year,” Deason said.
This week on the Opinion Podcast, we discuss the value of the East Lansing Barnes & Noble, which is set to close its doors when its lease expires in December. We debate whether the bookstore will be missed more as a place for students to go study or whether it’ll be missed more as a place to purchase pleasure reading. We also pit SBS against Barnes & Noble to see which one was overall more useful for students.
Barnes & Noble has been a fixture in downtown East Lansing since 2001, when the building that formerly housed Jacobson’s Department Store was repositioned to accommodate for Barnes & Noble and other office and retail space. The company has another location in the Lansing Mall, 5132 W. Saginaw Highway.
The property is owned by City Center Partners 2 LLC, and its managing partner is The Christman Company, based in Lansing.
In a statement, The Christman Company CEO Steve Roznowski said attempts were made to keep the company in its current location.
“While we obviously can’t comment on (Barnes & Noble’s) internal decision-making or future plans, we can state that we made several attempts to induce them to renew their lease and offered significant concessions for them to do so, all to no avail,” Rozonowski said in the statement. “We are confident in City Center’s ability to locate another suitable anchor for the space as quickly as possible.”
East Lansing Community and Economic Development Administrator Lori Mullins said one possibility post-Barnes & Noble, is to reposition the building for two or more businesses instead of finding a company big enough to fill the entire space.
“This is another case where it may be difficult to find one single retailer to fill such a large space,” Mullins said.
“It’s unfortunate that they’re closing, but we think they’re in a prime location, and the space will be desirable for many different businesses.”
News of the closure came as a blow to journalism sophomore Josh Drzewicki, who said he reads and studies in the store on a consistent basis.
“I didn’t believe it,” he said. “There’s nowhere else that has coffee and books in the same kind of setting and style of store (in the area),” Drzewicki said.
Though she was saddened by the upcoming closure and wonders how the city will be able to fill such a large building, apparel and textile design and advertising sophomore Paige Thompson was not surprised by the announcement — not because of the business, but because of its student audience.
“The fact that they don’t sell textbooks puts them under because students don’t have the money to just spend on regular books when they can’t even afford their own textbooks,” Thompson said.
With East Lansing’s major chain bookstore out of the picture, only a few locations in the downtown are geared towardpleasure reading.
Daniel Wilson, a clerk at Curious Book Shop, 307 E. Grand River Ave., said the loss of Barnes & Noble would reshape the downtown and leave a large hole in the city if unfilled.
“It has the potential to open up a lot of business for us, but at the same time it cuts off a huge section of this block,” Wilson said. “It’s going to change the landscape of East Lansing as we know it.”
Continue to check statenews.com for more on this developing story.