If you’ve been downtown recently and seen lights on and workers inside the old Barnes & Noble store on the northeast corner of Sherman Avenue and Church Street, you’ve probably wondered what’s happening there.

If you’ve been downtown recently and seen lights on and workers inside the old Barnes & Noble store on the northeast corner of Sherman Avenue and Church Street, you’ve probably wondered what’s happening there.

Carolyn Dellutri, the executive director of Downtown Evanston, shed a little light on that at this morning’s Joint Review Board meeting at the Civic Center to discuss the performance of Evanston’s tax increment financing districts.

Dellutri says half of the building will be occupied by a retail store for the Clearwire Corporation, a Kirkland, Wash., based company that has recently rolled out fourth-generation mobile Internet service in the Chicago area.

Dellutri says the landlord is considering food service tenants for the rest of the building, but nothing has firmed up yet on that.

The old Barnes & Noble store is just outside the boundary of the Washington National TIF district. It’s been vacant since the bookstore moved across the street into the Sherman Plaza complex, which is within the district.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. Barnes&Noble and Borders

      You may recall several years ago the business news about Borders was that they were struggling and might be forced to merge with B&N—I think discussions were even held.  I don’t know about Borders current financial or business status.

       Now B&N is or possibly will be up for sale.  Almost always potential buyers have ideas about changes to make–ones they think will be good or at least more profitable.  I don’t know what changes potential buyers have in mind, but I have heard of some changes contemplated anyway:

       Reduce or eliminate the CD/DVD section and replace it with e-books—odd because how much space can ebooks take up even with ‘reader’ displays.   Borders has cut back substantially on CDs already though from memory I don’t notice much of a change in the DVD section.

       Likely changes will occur with B&N and Borders.  Can Evanston support both esp. if the books they carry are close to duplicates ?  Will e-books reduce the stock of hardcover books/magazines—of course and then why visit a store.  The effect will certainly be less revenue for one/both and thus less tax revenue for the city—unless we decide to become a warehouse for books/CDs/DVDs—like the Council would ever approve that to their dying moment.

       We already lost Great Expectations [a "world class" store*—most people don’t even realize how much of an understatement that is] and at least one noted rare book seller on Foster], did lose several used book stores and of course Chandlers, K&B and Crown but those were different issues.   Twenty some years ago NU had a very good selection of non-textbook academic books but that is long gone and even discontinued their Springer-Verlag collection/sales within the last 10 years. 

       Ebooks can’t really handle what most academics and serious students require—anything like clear graphs, able to underline and make notes like in a hardcover book and I’m told can’t handle materials written by scientific software [LaTeX, Scientific Word].   I found nothing about these issues to be addressed.  Yes more expensive Acrobat features can handle these on a lap-top but you are talking $$$ for doing this any academic publishers don’t seem to be in a hurry to meet that market in mass like they are for ebooks.

       Now I’m depressed.

    * A German newspaper about bookstores started wih "…and of course if you get the the U.S. you have to go to Great Expectations in Evanston…" and I recall a response letter from Cambridge Press after the owner of Great Expectations wrote them recommending that republish a book—"…if you think so we will."  If you know an author—or any one close to the business—they will tell you that is unheard of.

      

  2. Borders and Barnes&Noble

    It looks like Borders is going to file for bankruptcy.

    So many companies have filed for bankruptcy but kept running—I don't know how many were successful for a year or more.

    Any experts out there that can speak to the real situation ?  Guess on what will 'really' happen.

    My understanding was B&N wouldn't merge or take-over Borders because of their debt.  I assume bankruptcy would take care of that so B&N might then be willing to go ahead—but Borders trying to 'keep going' could last a year or more. 

    In any event, with a Borders and B&N within three blocks and Borders saying they will probably close stores, it does not sound good for Evanston.  We already have more than enough empty stores !

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