Georgetown Barnes & Noble to Close

Must be lease-losing time in the District: Both the M Street Barnes & Noble in Georgetown and 14th Street fixture Miss Pixie's Furnishings and Whatnot are on the way out.

Pixie Windsor broke the news to Harry Jaffe in this morning's Examiner, and Topher Mathewspassed on the bookstore bit from an anonymous source, which I've just confirmed with B&N HQ. They'll be out by the end of the year.

The relationship between an independent furniture store and a giant corporate chain may not be immediately obvious.

But it's there: While I don't share Jaffe's weepy nostalgia for used car lots and chain link fences, Windsor is a big champion of local retail in the increasingly upscale corridor, playing a big part in the yearly MidCity Dog Days event and serving as something as a neighborhood hub underneath MidCity Caffe.

Last year, she said sales were good. Now, though, a big rent hike will force her to move when the lease is up in March.

"We come in and make a place cool and popular," she said in the Examiner, "then they kick us out. That's the way it works."

Barnes and Noble isn't local. But it's one of the only large, welcoming "public" feeling indoor spaces in Georgetown, a refuge from the heat, the cold, the sometimes overwhelming hustle and bustle of M Street.

Of course, being a hangout place doesn't pay the bills. But Barnes and Noble was supposed to be the smart large book retailer. So whomever the landlord is working with to take over the space, they'll likely be paying serious cash (Mathews is hearing $65 a square foot, which certainly isn't out of line for Georgetown).

In any case, a sad day for two D.C. neighborhoods.

Two Neighborhood Institutions Disappear: Miss Pixie’s and Barnes and Noble was originally published by Washington City Paper on Aug. 26, 2011.

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