Berliner: County Not Likely to Help Bring Bookstore to Bethesda (VIDEO)
Montgomery County is unlikely to step in to try to prevent Barnes and Noble from leaving its prime location in the Bethesda Row shopping district, Council President Roger Berliner said Monday.
“I think if we were to try and step into this kind of … issue, that it’s unending. These are national phenomena, as to how people buy books now. Do you want me to step into the taxicab business and save them from the Ubers of the world?” Berliner said.
The store commanded a signature location at Woodmont and Bethesda avenues. At 37,500 square feet, the store’s size was second only to the Giant grocery store, which covers 40,000 square feet.
The store’s closing was first reported by Bethesda Beat.
Berliner said he spoke Monday morning with Federal Realty, the owners of the property, to ask about the closure.
“They worked for two years to try and work an arrangement with Barnes and Noble to stay there. Barnes and Noble made it clear they said they couldn’t use all their space. They are struggling as these national bookstores are struggling across the country,” he said.
Berliner discounted county involvement because Federal Realty is “powerfully motivated” to bring a bookstore into Bethesda.
“They really tried very hard and none of it worked. And they are trying really hard to find a way to bring a bookseller into Bethesda,” he said.