Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. today joined representatives of Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties to announce that the bookseller’s location at the Bay Plaza Shopping Center will remain open.
Following the intervention of Borough President Diaz, Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties have agreed to a two-year extension of their current lease, averting the expected closure of the store in January, saving 50 jobs and allowing both companies more time to develop a long-term agreement.
“For several days my staff and I went back and forth with both Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties, and we were able to help these two entities work towards a compromise that keeps this bookstore in The Bronx. I hope that, during this two year extension, both companies are able to reach a long-term agreement that ensures their mutual success in our borough while keeping Bronxites employed. This is a major victory for The Bronx, and I am grateful that both companies have come to an agreement for the betterment of our borough,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Barnes & Noble is extremely excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Prestige Properties to extend our lease. We deeply appreciate the help of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., in helping to coordinate our discussions with Prestige. We look forward to continuing to serve the Bronx community,” said David Deason, Vice President, Real Estate, Barnes & Noble Booksellers.
“As a courtesy to the community and upon the request of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., we made every effort to ensure that Barnes & Noble remains at their current location. Keeping Barnes & Noble in our borough is beneficial for all and we are thankful for the Borough President’s assistance in helping make this happen,” said Sam Shalem, Chairman and CEO of Prestige Properties and Development Co., Inc.
“Reading is fundamental. Since its opening, the Barnes & Noble at Bay Plaza has been an invaluable part of the neighborhood, serving 1.4 million Bronxites and countless others beyond the borough. Barnes & Noble is the last brick and mortar bookstore in The Bronx, so its closure would have been devastating. I am pleased that Prestige Properties and Barnes & Noble were able to agree on a new, two-year lease. This extension is a huge win not only for the people of Co-op City, but the entire Bronx, and I commend Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for brokering this great deal,” said Congressman Eliot Engel.
“A collective sigh of relief has been heard throughout The Bronx. I want to congratulate both Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties for finding common ground to keep this wonderful asset in the Borough and I wish to thank Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for acting so quickly to bring all parties together for a successful resolution,” said Assembly Member Michael Benedetto.
“It’s truly a blessing that Barnes & Nobles will be remaining as pillar to education in Bay Plaza,” said Council Member Andy King, co-chair of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus whose district includes Co-op City. “The commitment of such a well-established tenant to service the people of The Bronx should be applauded. Thank you to all who made the great learning experience at Barnes and Noble a continue reality.”
“Borough President Diaz deserves a very warm ‘job well done’ for brokering a deal to keep Barnes and Noble at Bay Plaza. Keeping Barnes and Noble at Bay Plaza adds to the dignity and character of our community. It means that adults and children have a first class haven to learn, a place to explore the ideas of classical and off-beat thinkers, a place to hear and see writers speak, a space to hear and see puppet shows or celebrity book signings. It symbolizes that people who love to learn, who love to read, and who love to explore come to our community to enjoy life and to grow…and this is good for all of us,” said State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson.
“I am delighted to see Barnes & Noble renew their lease and stay in The Bronx. They are a treasured community institution and their continued investment in our borough is greatly appreciated,” said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
“Barnes & Noble is just as important to The Bronx today as it was 15 years ago when I fought to bring them to Bay Plaza. This is a huge victory for The Bronx, and I commend Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for brokering this deal and saving our bookstore,” said Stephen Kaufman, chairman of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and a former New York State Assembly Member.
“With 1.4 million residents, Barnes and Noble is a necessary fixture in our borough. We cannot afford to close the Bronx’s very last book store – a store we worked so hard to bring to our community almost two decades ago. As a parent I often visit Barnes and Noble with my children and know the value of this institution,” said Lenny Caro, president, Bronx Chamber of Commerce.
“This success is a stunning example of how businesses, politicians, and the community can work together,” said Amelia Zaino, who along with Jess Cruz launched the online petition to save the store last week. “I’m also impressed and humbled at how passionate Bronxites are about reading and education. This is a wonderful sign of a positive future.”