Barnes & Noble Nears Downtown Move

Growing up, Gordon Joseloff loved the Remarkable Book Shop. Klein’s books, too.

For years after the Main Street stores closed, he dreamed of bringing a bookstore back downtown.

Joseloff died last month. But now that’s almost a reality — in a building his family has owned for years.

Joseloff’s cousin Bruce Beinfield – an architect who also grew up here, and remembers the bookstores fondly — is handling negotiations for the Post Road East building.

For decades, it housed the Fine Arts Theater. From 1999 through last spring, it was Restoration Hardware.

Soon — perhaps right after the holidays — Barnes & Noble will move from its current location, to the downtown site. Earlier today, Beinfield confirmed that a deal is imminent.

Barnes & Noble is poised to move here …

The Barnes & Noble chain was acquired last year by Elliott Management Corporation. Their goal is to give local managers more leeway in operating each store.

At 10,000 square feet, the new Barnes & Noble will be smaller than its current store. It moved into the shopping center near Angelina’s after outgrowing its original Post Road location further east (most recently, Pier 1).

Beinfield says that once the deal is finalized, Barnes & Noble hopes to move as soon as possible. Applications for signage are already on file with town officials.

Plans for a new Starbucks café inside have not yet been filed. However, the back of the building will have food. As reported on “06880” last month, Basso Restaurant & Wine Bar will soon replace Matsu Sushi (the former Fine Arts 3 theater) on Jesup Road.

So what will become of the current Barnes & Noble location? There’s no official word, but rumors include Amazon Go — the high-tech, automated, geofenced app-driven store selling prepared foods, meal kits, groceries and alcohol.

If that happens, it would be a full circle of sorts. Before Barnes & Noble, that building was a Waldbaum’s supermarket.

… from here.

15 responses to “Barnes & Noble Nears Downtown Move

  1. That move is the best news I have heard in a while in town!
    I loved the Remarkable and Kleins as well as a kid.Wonderful!

  2. I don’t think you’re right on the location of Fine Arts 3. Wasn’t it near Baskin-Robbins and the original site of The Conservative Synagogue?

    • Nope – you’re thinking of Fine Arts 4! Fine Arts 3 was behind Fine Arts 1 and 2. The entrance was right there on Jesup Road, behind the Gillespie Center (which you know well).

      • Dan — wasn’t Fine Arts 4 on the corner of Post Road East and Morningside Drive, around the corner from the present Barnes & Noble?

        • No, that was Post Cinema. Trust me: Fine Arts 1 and 2 were where Restoration Hardware was. Fine Arts 3 was around the back (Matsu Sushi). Fine Arts 4 was in the back of 180 Post Road East (where State Cleaners is now). Post Cinema was near Angelina’s, at the far end directly across Morningside from Greens Farms Elementary School.

          • Patrick Laffaye

            This discussion comes up a lot and from what I remember… In the beginning, only Fine Arts 1 was on the Post Rd E and Fine Arts 2 was in the back. What happened was Fine Arts 1 was split down the middle to add Fine Arts 2 and in the back Fine Arts 2 became Fine Arts 3. Fine Arts 4 was around the back from Baskin-Robbins.

  3. Jacque O'Brien

    I also loved the downtown bookstores but know one of the biggest drawbacks was the lack of parking. I went to Barnes & Noble today and the parking lot was full.

    • Parking is impossible anywhere this time of year, but Barnes & Noble is not generally a place that creates parking/traffic problems. A standalone Starbucks like the one across from Carvel’s, on the other hand…

    • I remember going to Waldbaums (owned by A&P, the biggest grocery chain in the US until Walmart took that title) and Genovese next door. When Barnes and Noble moved in it was a nice upgrade for them – finally a large bookstore with a great selection and easy parking. Sadly that probably put Kleins out of business. While the idea of a bookstore downtown is nice, parking is a major issue (who wants to park 3 or 4 blocks away, only to run in and pick up one or two things), and I’m concerned that they will lose their huge selection of books. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, the next closest Barnes and Noble is in Milford – not too far of a drive, but not exactly convenient if that’s all your going there for. Hopefully they’ll be creative with their arrangement of inventory in the store.

  4. Beggars really can’t be choosers, but an independent book store would be nice, like Diane’s (Greenwich), Barrett (Darien), or Elm Street (New Canaan). Further adds to the common complaint about our downtown being sterile and corporate feeling. On the plus side, one less empty storefront.

  5. Thankfully we have Dan Woog to unravel the great Fine Arts mystery and controversy, lol!

    • Not too long ago, there was a discussion of bringing back a movie theater to downtown. What happened?

      • I’ve been wondering the same thing about the downtown movie theater. I knew the proposal had, unsurprisingly, become bogged down in red tape, but it still seemed to be alive at least as of some time last year. But I’ve heard nothing recently. Sadly, I’m assuming it’s dead until I hear otherwise.

        • This year, playhouses have closed in New Canaan, Darien, Stamford and Norwalk. The business was on its last legs before COVID, which was the final nail in the coffin. No longer a remotely sustainable business model.

  6. Great news for the vitality of downtown