By Karen Billing
Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s Barnes & Noble is closing after 21 years on Saturday, July 12. In the bookstore’s last days, books and items were priced at 50 percent off and many of the store’s shelves had been stripped and left bare.
A sign on the door gave a thank you to customers and while employees aren’t authorized to speak to the media, they remarked on how sad both they and the community are to see the store go.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” said customer Stephanie Selarka of the closing, poking through the near-empty racks with her son.
She said she’d like to see a bookstore return to Del Mar Highlands if possible, as it was convenient to have a bookstore nearby.
“Del Mar Highlands Town Center has been home to Barnes & Noble for 21 years, and we’ve enjoyed having them as part of our outstanding tenant line up,” said Elizabeth Schreiber, vice president of Donahue Schriber. “During the next few years this area of the shopping center will undergo renovation changes and therefore we are unable to renew the Barnes & Noble lease at this time.”
The closure is part of the next phase of Del Mar Highlands’ renovations, which include a new 800-space parking garage, the expansion of Cinepolis movie theaters from an eight to 11-plex and a new KinderCare building.
While all of the other tenants will move to temporary locations and remain open during construction, there was not a spot big enough to house the Barnes & Noble. The building will be torn down when construction begins in the fall.
“We offered them our largest vacancy as a temporary space but they declined as it was too small for their needs,” Schreiber said. “ We hope to provide a high-quality bookstore at Del Mar Highlands Town Center once our construction is complete.”
Once the parking garage is complete in 2015, the center will begin its next phase of renovations that includes a new, larger Jimbo’s in KinderCare’s old location and about 80,000 square feet of new retail spaces, on two levels where Jimbo’s was previously located.
The closest Barnes & Noble bookstores can be found at: Bookstar Costa Verde, 8650 Genesee Ave. Ste 230, San Diego, 92122 (located on Genesee Ave between La Jolla Village Drive and Nobel Drive in the Costa Verde Shopping Center, across from the west side of University Town Center); and Encinitas Town Center on 1040 North El Camino Real Drive. Customers can also shop online at BN.com.